Research in community pharmacy

Community pharmacies offer more convenient opening hours, out of hours support, access over weekends and they do not require appointments. This makes them an ideal research setting for researchers wanting to prioritise patient experience, or access underserved communities.

Community pharmacies also provide access to patient populations at a different, and often very early, stage of their illness or condition compared to access through a GP or secondary care. In addition, people with long-term conditions often see a pharmacist more frequently than they see a GP, for instance when collecting repeat prescriptions.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) can help plan and deliver research in community pharmacies. NIHR has Community Pharmacy Research Champions in each of the 15 local Clinical Research Networks (CRNs), including the NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester (NIHR CRN GM). These individuals help researchers to access the research-ready pharmacies in their area. They also support the growth of the pharmacy research infrastructure by promoting research and supporting fellow pharmacists in their locality to engage in research activities.

The Pharmacy Champion for NIHR CRN GM is Rachel Macdonald. You can get in touch by emailing:

Read a case study on the real-world approach adopted by the Rococo study. This was the first cough medicine study in the UK to be delivered entirely in a pharmacy setting – a significant achievement for community-based health research.

Another initiative to help harness research capacity and capabilities in community pharmacies is an accreditation scheme run by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) called RPS Research Ready Accreditation. The scheme requires a pharmacy to have a dedicated research lead and for all staff to have undertaken Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training which is mandatory for employees who help to deliver a study. There are currently over 100 pharmacies registered.

If you would like further information about clinical research in community pharmacies, contact NIHR CRN GM by emailing: 

The video below explains further why researchers should consider delivering health research through community pharmacies and provide some advice to those who are keen to explore this opportunity further.