Senator Markey Continues the Fight for Accessible Labeling

Last month, Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass) sent letters to a dozen pharmacies requesting information on their efforts to make prescription drug label information accessible. In his letter, he asks the twelve pharmacies what steps they have taken to adopt or implement best practice for the visually impaired, including braille or large print, offering audible devices, and any costs for making drug labeling information available. 

As a bit of back story to Markey's involvement with accessible labeling: In 2012, he created the “Prescription Drug Labeling Promotion Act” that was passed as part of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. This Act ensured that the blind and visually-impaired have safe and independent access to the information on prescription drug labels. The law established a working group of pharmacists, patient advocates, and federal regulators that issued recommendations of best practices for pharmacies to ensure that people who are blind or visually-impaired have access to prescription drug labeling. The law also instructs the Government Accountability Office to analyze the degree to which pharmacists are adhering to the law and whether there continues to be a lack of access to prescription drug labeling for the blind and visually-impaired.

Senator Markey isn't the only politician making waves in the accessibility world. As a result of just one visually impaired constitute going to Massachusetts State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives, Kathleen went before her peers with Bill #472, An Act Relative to Prescription Drug Voice SynthesizersThis bill requires insurance companies that offer prescription drug coverage in MA to insure an accessible prescription labeling solution.

Your officials are starting the conversation, but they need your help. 

The more people who are aware of accessible prescription drug labeling, the more safety and independence the visually impaired community will have. With the aid of your state senator or other official, imagine what your voice could help accomplish. We encourage you to ask for similar petitions in your state – to help get you started, we have created a standard letter to print, email or use as a guide when speaking with your official. We have also linked to a list of each state’s senators, as a jumping off point in outreach, both of which can be found on our Consumer Page

 

Published on Feb 18, 2015.

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