Monday, June 25, 2012

Medical Prescription Information

From Lauren McLarney Fellow Federationists, Last Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed comprehensive legislation that improves blind people’s right to independently access information about their prescription medication. Section 904 of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, a bill endorsed and supported by the National Federation of the Blind, establishes a working group to develop best practices on making prescription drug container labels accessible to the blind. Prescription drug container labels are the labels with the directions for use that are affixed to prescription drug containers by pharmacists and dispensed to consumers. Because these labels come in print, they are inaccessible to the blind and deny blind patients access to critical medical information. The working group is instructed to consider several options for blind patients such as adding Braille, providing talking bottles' that provide audible container label information, and having digital voice recorders or radio frequency identification tags attached to the prescription drug container. Once best practices are finalized, they will be provided to pharmacies as guidance and eventually, their effectiveness at improving access for the blind will be studied by the Government Accountability Office. After several rounds of negotiations by Congress, we are pleased to see that Section 904 was included in the final package of the bill. Now, we must wait for the Senate’s approval before the bill can be sent to the President for signature. We anticipate movement in the coming weeks, and will keep you updated as this moves forward. We look forward to the day when the blind are ensured safe, consistent, reliable, and independent access to medical information. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at the National Center at 410.659.9314, ext. 2007, or email me at Lauren Lauren McLarney Government Programs Specialist NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND 200 East Wells St. Baltimore, MD 21230 (410) 659 9314 ext. 2207


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