Monday, June 9, 2014

Accessible Prescription Review is Just Around the Corner

June 9, 2014--There are just 30 days left of the designated period for the National Council on Disabilities to distribute information regarding the new guidelines for accessible prescription labels[1].  Unfortunately, due to budget cuts and staffing issues, this Congressionally mandated educational campaign has not taken place. 

So what will Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General, and his staff find if and when they perform their review of the implementation of the guidelines within pharmacies around the United States?  If their experience is anything like a majority of blind and low vision consumers, they will find:
·         Pharmacies generally have not heard of the guidelines or the companies that provide solutions. 
·         Walmart and CVS are offering mail order options that few people can take advantage of due to insurance limits, narcotic restrictions, medications requiring refrigeration, or problems with US mail service. 
·         A few pharmacies offering Braille for the less than 10% of blind that can read it. 
They will not find a plethora of pharmacies knowledgeable about accessible label options.

They will not find a majority of pharmacies providing accessible labels to those who have requested them citing cost or time constraints as a barrier to the service.

They will not find auxiliary aids, effective communication, and the spirit of the ADA as pervasive as they should be 11 years after the first congressionally mandated study[2] regarding accessible prescriptions (whose educational campaign was also abandoned due to budget issues) and a year after the publication of the guidelines.

Would you like to provide your own feedback to the Comptroller Generals Office on the delegation and use of congressional funds to educate pharmacies and the public on accessible label guidelines and solutions?  Here are some contact points:

Government Accountability Office
441 G St, NW
Washington, DC 20548
(202) 512-3000
Public Affairs
Chuck Young
(202) 512-4800
Congressional Relations
Katherine Siggerud
(202) 512-4400

[1] Best Practices for Making Prescription Drug Container Label Information Accessible to Persons Who are Blind or Visually-Impaired or Who are Elderly.

[1] Best Practices for Making Prescription Drug Container Label Information Accessible to Persons Who are Blind or Visually-Impaired or Who are Elderly.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

CSUN Accessible Prescriptions Session

Here’s a CSUN Session you won’t want to miss!  David Raistrick from En-Vision America will present a talk on prescription accessibility at CSUN’s 29th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference in San Diego.
  • Title: ScripAbility: Implementing the ADA & FDA Safety & Innovations Act
  • Date: Friday, March 21, 2014
  • Time: 4:20 PM
  • Location: Old Town B
Synopsis:  In 2010, the Department of Justice amended language in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Pharmacies are expressly named under the act and are obligated to provide auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication to individuals with disabilities.  In addition, the recent FDA Safety and Innovations Act directs the National Council on Disability to undertake an awareness campaign to inform the public (and pharmacies) of recent U.S. Access Board’s “best practices”.  We’ll provide review of  these best practices and how ScripAbility technology is helping pharmacists help their patients. More than 100 independent and chain pharmacies are already offering varying components of this system, benefiting all participants. As more pharmacies are learning how to implement federal laws into their services, there is an increase in individuals who are now able to access prescription label information. ScripAbility facilitates pharmacies to comply with ADA statutes, and assists the blind in finding safe, private and independent management of their medications. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Who Knows About Accessible Prescriptions? Your Guess is as Good as Mine.

Way back on July 10, 2013, the Working Group on Accessible Prescriptions submitted to the U.S. Board its best practices for pharmacies for providing independent access to prescription medications.  Thes best practices call for multiple accessible formats, including Braille, large print, audible formats.  The complete list of best practices and guidelines can be found at:

The FDA Safety and Innovation Act requires the National Council on Disability (NCD) to conduct an information and education campaign in cooperation with the working group.  This campaign is to ensure that pharmacies and the public are made aware of the needs for the visually impaired community and what these best practice are.

One would think that over the next year consumers and pharmacies will be inundated with educational materials from the NCD.  But, we all know the way time slips by.  We all know that oftentimes complacency is king.  And with little activity since the Best Practices were issued, I'm beginning to wonder whether this will be the case.

Let's not get down the road another year only to find out that few pharmacies are following (or even know about) these best practices.  Information can be a barrier.  Let's remove that wall!  Each one of us (working group members included) must be charged with pushing information to pharmacies and the public.  We need to ensure the NCD is working hard on dissemination of this information.  Each one of us must do our part to make sure the wonderful efforts of the Access Board are not in vain.
Working group members that include:
·         AARP
·         American Council of the Blind (ACB)
·         American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
·         Blinded Veterans Association (BVA)
·         Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI)
·         Express Scripts
·         Metropolitan Washington Association of the Deaf Blind (MWADB)
·         National Association of Chain Drug Stores
·         National Community Pharmacists Association
·         National Council on Aging (NCOA)
·         National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
·         National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE)
·         National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
·         Rite-Aid
·         Target
·         US Pharmacopeia (USP)
·         Walgreens
·         Wal-Mart

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Participate in the U.S. Access Board Meeting on Accessible Drug Labels

Mark your calendar!  You have the opportunity to listen in on the U.S. Access Board's meeting to develop best practices for making drug labels accessible to people who are visually impaired.  

The Access Board will hold the next teleconference on April 22nd from 1:00 to 5:00 (Eastern Time). 

 Members of the public can follow the proceedings through the toll-free conference line.  You even have the opportunity to speak your mind at the end of the teleconference. We encourage you to talk about your experience with accessible prescriptions. It is important for them to hear the difference that ScripTalk can make, and no one can witness to that more than real people using accessible prescriptions.


Teleconference of the Accessible Prescription Drug Labels Working Group 
April 22, 1:00 - 5:00 (Eastern Time)

Dial: (888) 603-7094

Passcode: 6317703

For further information, visit the Board’s website or contact Susan Crawford at, (202) 272-0029 (v), or (202) 272-0082 (TTY).

Monday, April 1, 2013

Massachusetts Hearing on Accessibility in Healthcare

On Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 12:00 PM there is going to be a hearing on h1937, a bill filed at the request of me, Brian J. Coppola, by representative Diana DiZoglio which is an act relative to blind and cross disability agencies who receive funding from the state fiscal budget to work in conjunction with pharmacies and pharmacist to establish best practices of putting labeling on prescription drugs into accessible format for those who are blind or have other print reading disabilities. This would include public schools, community and state colleges or universities that offer ESL and special needs schools and rehabilitation and special needs schools receiving state funding for their services and programs to work with the pharmacies and pharmacists to put prescription labeling into accessible format for the blind to be able to manage their prescriptions in a safe and independent manner.

The hearing is before the Joint Committee on Public Health and I urge all of you to show up and give testimony in support of this very critical matter. As you know, there is technology available now that can put information contained on prescription labeling into accessible format via the use of RFID technology to which the blind person, by calling En-Vision America can get a patient reader station free of charge when they use participating pharmacies that use this system. The do have to purchase the other part of the system that creates the label through a special micro chip and a small antenna into a special label, to which is programmed to the prescription label, using a special printer that works in conjunction with their software and that of special firmware developed by En-Vision America. The unit for the pharmacies would come to $1,500.00 and also the costs of labels, but, they also get an accessibility tax credit for doing so. This would be a reward for helping the disabled to be able to be on an equal playing field to that of other people who are not afflicted with visual problems or other print reading challenges.

It is time to make our voices heard on this matter and to stand up for our rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title 28 C.F.R Part 36 and HIPA to enjoy the same quality of life as that if those who do not have visual or print reading challenges. It is time to stand up and say that we are not just a, “niche,” in society and to help the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reduce the4 costs of unnecessary emergency room visits due to medical errors resulting from non compliant with a prescription regiment due to the fact that they cannot read the small print only labeling on the prescriptions. Let’s help get this critical issue through to help the visually impaired, the print reading challenged, the pharmacists and even the ones who we ask for help to read our prescriptions for us and other task to feel more safe and secure knowing that we can be more independent. This would also be a great testament to our loved ones and the people we care about.

Thus, I urge you to show up at the hearing and throw your support behind H1937, filed by Representative Diana DiZoglio of Methuen, Massachusetts, because, the time is now for us to stand up for our rights to accessible prescription labeling and to become more independent in our daily lives and to better enhance the quality and quantity of our lives.

Also, feel free to ask your state representative and State Senator to show up at this very important hearing and to throw their support behind H 1937. The time is now, 2013!!! Not when someone else gets hurt to themselves or even others through honest medical errors caused by not being able to read prescription labels. I look forward to your support behind this matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 508 265-5099. Have a nice day and a nice Easter.

Sincerely Yours,
Brian J. Coppola
Brian J. Coppola

PS: Please pass this along to all of your friends and family. We really need your support on this one.