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:

Agency-Wide
Government Accountability Office
441 G St, NW
Washington, DC 20548
contact@gao.gov
(202) 512-3000
Public Affairs
Chuck Young
youngc1@gao.gov
(202) 512-4800
Congressional Relations
Katherine Siggerud
congrel@gao.gov
(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.  http://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/health-care/about-prescription-drug-container-labels/working-group-recommendations





[1] Best Practices for Making Prescription Drug Container Label Information Accessible to Persons Who are Blind or Visually-Impaired or Who are Elderly.  http://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/health-care/about-prescription-drug-container-labels/working-group-recommendations

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