Abstract Background Health reform has been an ongoing agenda in many countries with community pharmacy increasingly gaining attention for contributing to healthcare improvement. Likewise, multiple policy approaches have been introduced to improve community pharmacy practice in Indonesia yet no studies have evaluated their effectiveness. Therefore, this study aimed to identify and collate information on approaches intended to improve practice in Indonesian community pharmacy and subsequently examine the perceptions of key stakeholders in healthcare and community pharmacy about these approaches and the extent to which they have affected community pharmacists as a profession. Methods This study reviewed the grey literature related to community pharmacy policies published by government and pharmacy organisations in Indonesia since 2009 and broadened the search to other relevant databases. In-depth semi structured interviews were conducted with a wide range of key stakeholders in pharmacy and healthcare between February and August 2016 to evaluate these policy approaches. Results Seventeen policy documents were identified with the majority published by the Indonesian Pharmacists’ Association (8 documents) and Ministry of Health of Indonesia (6 documents). Most documents (15 documents), either the updated version or new policy, were published since 2014 indicating the recent enthusiasm of pharmacy stakeholders to improve community pharmacy practice. Twenty-nine key stakeholders participated in the study, and highlighted three main themes regarding the policy approaches: barriers to effective policy implementation, need for policy changes and strategies to cope with policy challenges. Poor policy enforcement was commonly expressed by participants as a major challenge, with participants anticipating the need for a unified stakeholder vision to improve the current situation. Participants also mentioned several local initiatives which they claimed were improving practice but evidence was lacking. Conclusion The introduction of policy initiatives within the past ten years has highlighted the enthusiasm of policy makers and pharmacy stakeholders to improve community pharmacy practice in Indonesia. However, some of the initiatives were conceived and enacted in a piecemeal, sometimes conflicting and uncoordinated way. Overall, fundamental and entrenched barriers to practice need to be overcome to create a more professional climate for the practice of pharmacy in Indonesia
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