As our population continues to age, more and more people are going to be faced with vision loss. Since many members of the older population take prescription drugs, it’s important that the labels be as accessible as possible. As it stands right now, labels are the same for everyone, and if you want to distinguish your drugs, you have to add additional labeling yourself. This is simply unacceptable and dangerous. Congressman Markey of Massachusetts has recognized this issue and recently introduced a bill called the Prescription Drug Labeling Act of 2012 to solve this problem.
The bill is designed to come up with a set of best practices for pharmacies to follow to ensure that their patients have access to their prescription drug information. The adaptations under consideration include: Braille, auditory access, such as talking bottles and RFID tags, and visual changes, such as large print. Since not all pharmacies are owned by big companies, the law will allow small pharmacies to have a variety of options to choose from. The Government Accountability Office will be in charge of providing a report detailing how well pharmacies are complying with the law 18 months after it goes into effect. This legislation is backed by both the ACB and NFB.
I have experienced inaccessible prescription drug labels first hand. If you have multiple medications that are in the same size bottle, the only way to distinguish them is the shape a size of the pill, but even this isn’t something you can count on. Taking the wrong amount of medication or the wrong medication can be very dangerous and it’s important that independent blind and elderly people have the ability to know what medication they’re taking and be able to separate their medications on their own.
To learn more about the legislation and to contact your representative to encourage them to back it, visit this link: http://markey.house.gov/press-release/markey-introduces-legislation-improve-prescription-drug-labeling-blind
To read the bill itself visit this link: http://markey.house.gov/sites/markey.house.gov/files/documents/Rx%20Labeling%20for%20the%20Blind%20bill%20text.pdf
How would this legislation impact you? Have you ever taken the wrong medication or the wrong amount because you couldn’t read the label?