International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 1326–1335 | Cite as

The impact of pharmacist certification on the quality of chemotherapy in Japan

  • Shinya SuzukiEmail author
  • Hiroomi Sakurai
  • Kenji Kawasumi
  • Makoto Tahara
  • Shinichiro Saito
  • Kazushi Endo
Research Article


Background In the Japanese healthcare system, board certification not only maintains the quality of daily practice but is also required for hospitals to receive healthcare reimbursement. To date, no data on the effects of the board certification system in Japanese hospitals have been reported. Objective We performed a survey to clarify the impact of pharmacist certification on the quality of chemotherapy. Setting A nationwide mailing survey was conducted in Japan. Method We surveyed oncology pharmacists from 388 cancer designated hospitals (DHs) and 984 randomly selected general hospitals (GHs). Main outcome measure Multivariate analysis of factors for compliance with standard cancer chemotherapy to clarify the impact of pharmacist certification on the quality of chemotherapy. Results The response rate was 70.6 % (274/388) at the DHs and 43.4 % (428/984) at the GHs. Of the 13 different regimens, 66.1 % (181/274) of DHs and 64.7 % (277/428) of GHs reported having experienced either improper doses or intervals of drug administration. The median number of improper regimens was 1 at both the DHs (range 0–15) and GHs (range 0–22). We identified two groups of hospitals, those with two or more improper regimens and those with one improper regimen or less. Univariate analysis showed significant differences in the number of DHs (p < 0.01), performance of more than 10 chemotherapies per day (p < 0.05), presence of more than 400 beds (p < 0.01) and the professional qualifications of oncology pharmacists or medical oncologists. From multivariate analysis, significant differences were observed in certifications from the Japanese Society of Pharmacy Healthcare and Sciences certified Senior Oncology Pharmacist (odds ratio 0.29, p < 0.01) and the Japanese Society of Medical Oncology certified oncologist (odds ratio 0.48, p < 0.01). Conclusion Board certification was more prevalent in the designated (cancer specialist) hospitals than general hospitals and adherence to appropriate therapy was better when the DH was involved. Board certification was shown to be beneficial in terms of adherence to adequate chemotherapy.


Certification Chemotherapy Japan Specialization 



The authors wish to thank the National Cancer Center Hospital East and members of its staff and family members for supporting the study.


This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shinya Suzuki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hiroomi Sakurai
    • 2
  • Kenji Kawasumi
    • 1
  • Makoto Tahara
    • 3
  • Shinichiro Saito
    • 1
  • Kazushi Endo
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy, National Cancer Center Hospital EastNational Research and Development AgencyKashiwaJapan
  2. 2.Department of PharmacyKeio University HospitalShinjukuJapan
  3. 3.Division of Head and Neck Medical Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital EastNational Research and Development AgencyKashiwaJapan
  4. 4.Drug Safety ManagementMeiji Pharmaceutical UniversityKiyoseJapan
  5. 5.The Japanese Society of Hospital PharmacistsShibuyaJapan

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