Objectives To identify the type and frequency of services provided through community pharmacies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Methods A survey was conducted using an anonymous questionnaire distributed by hand to 700 community pharmacies. Items included information about the pharmacists and pharmacies, type of products sold, type and extent of enhanced services provided and perceived barriers to providing these services. Key findings Most pharmacies provided a wide range of medicinal and non-medicinal products. The frequency with which services were provided was assessed on a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (always). Enhanced professional services were not provided to a large extent in most pharmacies. Fewer than one-third (29%) reported they always supplied printed information to patients (mean = 3.37, 95% confidence interval = 3.23-3.52); fewer than one-third (28%) counselled patients on a regular basis (3.25, 3.09-3.40); nearly two-thirds (62%) reported monitoring patients' adherence to therapy at least sometimes (2.96, 2.81-3.10). Most pharmacies (92%) in the UAE did not routinely keep patient records (2.09, 1.96-2.32). While just over a quarter of respondents claimed that they always reported medication errors (27%) and adverse drug reactions (28%), these activities were not often performed in around 40% of pharmacies. Conclusions This is the first study to explore the type and extent of professional services provided through community pharmacies in the UAE and provides baseline data critical to inform the development of strategies to improve the quality of community pharmacy services. © 2011 Royal Pharmaceutical Society.