NCD Supports Innovations for Increasing Drug Label Accessibility

National Council on Disability Supports Innovations for Increasing Drug Label Accessibility
as Recommended by the U.S. Access Board

Independent Federal Agency Will Promote Public Awareness as Part of Campaign

 

In support of new guidance made available from the U.S. Access Board on how to make prescription drug container labels accessible to people who have vision impairments or other disabilities, in the coming year, the National Council on Disability will undertake a public awareness campaign in cooperation with the 18-member working group to inform the public about best practices.

Currently, important information on prescription medication labels, including dosage and other instructions, side effects, and expiration dates, is often inaccessible to millions of Americans unable to read print or small typefaces. 

New guidance made available from the U.S. Access Board on July 10 seeks to correct that by detailing  ways to make prescription drug container labels more accessible – by utilizing braille, large print, and auditory technologies such as "talking bottles" and radio frequency identification tags. The recommendations were designed specifically to help seniors and people with vision impairments but have broader applications. Additional options to expand access to these crucial instructions are being developed to deliver information digitally through smartphones and personal computers.

In preparing its recommendations, the 18-member Working Group on Accessible Prescription Drug Container Labels assessed these alternatives along with technical, financial, or logistical considerations. 

The report titled, “Best Practices for Making Prescription Drug Container Label Information Accessible to Persons Who are Blind or Visually-Impaired or Who are Elderly,” is available on the Access Board’s website and provides much-needed guidance to pharmacists about ways they can voluntarily ensure that label information is available and reliably accessible to all customers.

Guidance provided by the U.S. Access Board and working group is advisory, not mandatory. Pharmacies are advised but not obligated to follow the recommendations for best practices. Recommendations were developed under the "Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act," which was signed into law by President Obama in July 2012.

The report “Best Practices for Making Prescription Drug Container Label Information Accessible to Persons Who are Blind or Visually-Impaired or Who are Elderly” can be found online at:

http://www.access-board.gov/drug-labels/report.htm

For more information, visit the Access Board’s website at http://www.access-board.gov or contact Marsha Mazz, Director of the Board’s Office of Technical and Information Services, at (202) 272-0020, (202) 272-0076 (TTY), or mazz@access-board.gov.

If you are interested in assisting in efforts to disseminate this important guidance, please contact NCD at: PublicAffairs@ncd.gov.

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