[NFBWATlk] Accessible prescription labels in Washington

Judy Jones sonshines59 at gmail.com
Sat Sep 18 15:40:25 UTC 2021

What about using Accessible Pharmacy For The Blind, I think it is called.  They are back east, and got started, or at least widely advertised last fall.

The insurance companies are the ones who offer accessibility through whichever pharmacy you choose.  We use our insurance's mail pharmacy, which provides the scripTalk, not sure if I am spelling that correctly.

The Accessible Pharmacy mentioned above offers labels in a variety of formats.

-----Original Message-----
From: NFBWATlk <nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org> On Behalf Of Jamal Mazrui via NFBWATlk
Sent: Saturday, September 18, 2021 8:20 AM
To: NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List <nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org>
Cc: Jamal Mazrui <jamal at empowermentzone.com>
Subject: [NFBWATlk] Accessible prescription labels in Washington

With her permission, I am sharing correspondence below from a local ACB member, Judy Brown.This relates to advocacy for accessible prescription labels in the state of Washington.I am unsure whether we in the NFB have a position on this issue.

Folks who support regulatory action in this area can make a difference by conveying personal stories about the need for it with the Washington Department of Health.Of course, we can put our own slant on the issue.


Begin forwarded message:

*From:*"Trant, Lindsay A (DOH)" 
<lindsay.trant at doh.wa.gov<mailto:lindsay.trant at doh.wa.gov>>
*Date:* September 10, 2021 at 2:01:10 PM PDT
*To:* JEIBroWN726 at gmail.com<mailto:JEIBroWN726 at gmail.com>
*Subject:* *RE: URGENT REVIEW PLEASE: Request for ruling making for accessible medication labels*

Hi Judy,

Thank you for contacting the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission
(commission) with your request regarding rulemaking for accessible labeling on medication bottles.

We will treat your e-mail request as a formal rules petition, which is described in RCW 34.05.330<https://gcc02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fapps.leg.wa.gov%2Frcw%2Fdefault.aspx%3Fcite%3D34.05.330&data=04%7C01%7Clindsay.trant%40doh.wa.gov%7Cadb07b94dd414c2b425808d8f5e67268%7C11d0e217264e400a8ba057dcc127d72d%7C0%7C0%7C637529717405433121%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=rD6b2FGVQmis5EnIFAvO73Hc6Yv2hm2kzsQl7tIP0GA%3D&reserved=0>.

The commission will consider your request and you can expect an answer by November 7th. If you are not already, you can sign up to receive emails from the commission here<https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WADOH/subscriber/new>,
which include notices for commission meetings and agendas. If you have any questions please feel free to reach me at the contact information below.

We appreciate your interest in our rulemaking process!

*Lindsay Trant, MPP*

Pronouns: She/Her

Interim Deputy Director

Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission

Health System Quality Assurance

Washington State Department of Health

Lindsay.trant at doh.wa.gov<mailto:Lindsay.trant at doh.wa.gov>

360-236-2932 | www.doh.wa.gov<http://www.doh.wa.gov/>

*From:* Judiith Ingraham Brown
<jeibrown726 at gmail.com<mailto:jeibrown726 at gmail.com>>
*Sent:* Wednesday, September 8, 2021 3:46 PM
*To:* DOH WSPQAC <WSPQAC at doh.wa.gov<mailto:WSPQAC at doh.wa.gov>>
*Subject:* Request for ruling making for accessible medication labels

External Email

To Whom It May Concern,

The Washington Council of the Blind Advocacy and Governmental Affairs Committees are requesting that the Washington Pharmacy Compliance Board create rules to require pharmacies in Washington State to offer accessible labeling on medication bottles. The Food and Drug Administration Safety Innovation Act  of 2012, section 904, tasked the US Access Board to develop Best Practices for Accessible Medication Labels. The National Council on Disability along with the American Council of the Blind put together an online information site
and brochure highlighting best practices for pharmacies who serve
  low-vision and blind persons. However, these were only recommendations. Therefore, many pharmacies, including pharmacies based in Washington state either do not follow these recommendations or only offer large print but no other accessible labeling options.

Over 25 million Americans age 65 and older have low-vision or are blind. 
This makes reading labels impossible without accommodations. I am legally blind and cannot see or read  medication labels. When I asked my local Costco pharmacy for large print labels, I was told they did not offer that service. I then asked how was I, as a legally blind person, supposed to read the small print on my medication bottle? I was told I needed to find someone to read the label to me. This is insulting. My privacy and independence are being taken away due to lack of understanding, professionalism and a failure to follow basic best practices guidelines for accessible medication labels. This is only one example of many such stories throughout Washington state involving other visually impaired persons. There is no consistency and therefore, patient safety is affected depending the pharmacy a person uses. In some areas of Washington, there are very few pharmacy choices. So, if you have to use a pharmacy that does not offer accessible labeling you are at risk for an avoidable medication error.

With the advances that En-Vision has made with Script Talk labeling, accessible medication labels are now available to other patient populations. Those who are reading impaired (dyslexia, low reading comprehension, English as a second language and others) now have a way to have way to know what the label says in an easy to use manner. This means many more patients could be positively impacted with this technology. Patient/consumer safety will increase.

Patient caused medication errors is a major reason for emergency room visits and, at times, hospitalization. The CDC estimates that non-adherence to medication treatments cause 30 to 50% of the chronic disease treatment failures. Furthermore, medications are not taken as prescribed about 50% of the time. While non-adherence to medication regimens has several causes, one major cause is understanding or being able to properly read the label.

Patient caused medication errors are avoidable. Communication is a key component is stopping these errors. Offering accessible medication labels will go a long way in improving medication communication.

Thank you for considering this request. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Judy Brown, RN, BSN

Washington Council of the Blind

Co-Chair Advocacy Committee

Member Governmental Affairs Committee

Jeibrown726 at gmail.com<mailto:Jeibrown726 at gmail.com>


Shoreline, WA 98133

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