OBJECTIVES: To explore the views of New Zealand pharmacists on bowel cancer screening, particularly with regards to faecal occult blood testing (FOBT) kits, self-perceived knowledge on FOBT kits and barriers, motivators and experiences with selling and counselling consumers with respect to FOBT kits. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted face to face or by telephone with 20 community pharmacists in the Auckland region. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim and data were coded and analysed using NVivo software to identify key themes. KEY FINDINGS: Participant pharmacists believed that they were well placed to provide advice on FOBT kits to consumers. Barriers to selling the kits included cost and perceived lack of test sensitivity of the kits, poor consumer demand, pharmacists' lack of training and information, and a belief that selling FOBT kits was outside the pharmacists' scope of practice. Motivators to selling the kits included customer convenience, ease of use, confidence in the kits and embracing new roles for pharmacists. Pharmacists were concerned that use of the kits may increase the burden on the public health system through customer anxiety over test results; however, they agreed that there was a need for bowel cancer screening and awareness and that people concerned about bowel cancer should make visiting their general practitioner a priority. CONCLUSIONS: Pharmacists' views were mixed. Pharmacists' training and competence with respect to the provision of bowel cancer kits, and how a bowel cancer screening service can be developed to optimise public health outcomes, need to be addressed.