OBJECTIVES: The aim was to identify local organisational factors that affect sustained delivery of the first Danish publicly reimbursed cognitive service, the Inhaler Technique Assessment Service (ITAS). The ITAS is a 10-min interactive counselling session during which pharmacy staff assess the inhalation technique of individual asthma patients at the pharmacy counter, and correct any errors. Knowledge of how the organisation of a local pharmacy influences ITAS provision will be used to develop quality indicators as part of a targeted quality-assurance system to support the sustainability of the service in all Danish community pharmacies. METHODS: Qualitative methods included field observations, semi-structured interviews, group interviews and the collecting of documentary material. Data-source and method triangulation were applied. Seven pharmacies were included in the study. A cross-case analysis compared pharmacies with sustained and reduced numbers of services based on three selected themes: administration of the ITAS, leadership interventions and professional values of pharmacy owner and staff. KEY FINDINGS: Pharmacies with sustained delivery had introduced systematic evaluations of the local delivery of the ITAS and made ongoing efforts to improve staff competencies. They dealt with individual barriers such as lack of knowledge of rarely distributed inhalation devices and communication techniques. Pharmacy staff in general rarely assessed patients' clinical needs before offering the service and rarely provided follow-up. Thus, pharmacy staff failed to utilise the full clinical potential of the ITAS. CONCLUSIONS: In order to achieve and support further ITAS sustainability, the knowledge, skills and professional values of pharmacy staff must be developed. Human resource leadership techniques would be useful in achieving this aim, as would focusing on the service by providing systematic evaluations.