Rural America Lists Top Concerns as Drugs and Economy

A poll of about 2,700 individuals living in rural America discovered that 25 percent list opioid or other drug addiction as the "most serious problem" their community is handling. This comes in above economic concerns, which pulled in 21 percent.

"These findings suggest that in today's economically stretched rural United States, opioid or other drug addiction or abuse has emerged as an equal problem with economic concerns," study authors from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said.

For a full breakdown of the results the study, published in JAMA Network Open, click here.

American Academy of Ophthamology Discovers Some Serious Gaps in Eye Health Awareness

As the number of people with potentially blinding eye diseases is expected to double in the years ahead, the American Academy of Ophthamology says its latest poll has discovered some concerning knowledge gaps in the general population.

Only around one-third of adults (37%) know you do not always experience symptoms before you lose vision to eye diseases. And less than half (47%) are aware your brain can make it difficult to know if you are losing your vision by adapting to vision loss.

For full details of the survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Academy of Ophthamology, click here.

January Is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma can sometimes be known as the silent sight stealer. The only way to diagnose glaucoma is to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam to detect the disease in its early stages. 

By catching the disease early, it allows people to get treatments that can slow or prevent vision loss. Treatments for glaucoma include prescription eye drops, laser treatment and surgery.

The LighHouse Guide offers some advice on keeping an eye out for this sneaky disease in a recent article posted here

Accessible Prescription Label Law Timeline

Note: Bills with strike through mean they were not passed but were included in history for reference.  Bills in italic are still pending in committee.

 1973: Rehabilitation Act banned discrimination on the basis of disability by recipients of federal funds

1977: Section 504 regulations were issued. It is these regulations which form the basis of the ADA

1990: Americans with Disabilities Act signed into law

2003: Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. This Act required the DHHS to study how to make prescription pharmaceutical information, including drug labels and usage instructions, accessible for the blind and low vision. The DHHS formulated study questions and the AFB responded with information about the blind population, access to prescription information, and existing and emerging technologies.  They made some recommendations that the National Eye Health Education Program conduct an education program and publish materials letting patients and pharmacies know about assistive technologies and modalities for accessing prescription drug information. The NEHEP director, Neyal Ammary-Risch says that they never performed this work due to budget cuts and because the AFB published some really good information to their website and worked with the Pharmaceutical industry to create standards regarding labels (this occurred in 2012).

2004: Veterans Administration Announced the Standardization of Audible Prescription Reading Devices with ScripTalk as the standard.

2009: Indiana HB1627 introduced to require Braille or recorded audio device for prescription labels.  Engrossed.  No further action.

2009: Massachusetts Senate Bill 445 introduced An Act Relative to Coverage for Prescription Drug Voice Synthesizers. No further action.

2010: Indiana HB1240  introduced various insurance matters including language for accessible prescription drug labeling.  House Engrossed. No further action.

2010: ADA Amendments provided detailed and clarified instructions on how public accommodations—specifically citing pharmacies—must provide auxiliary aids and services to blind or low-vision customers in order to provide effective communication. The new language goes on specifically to list large-print materials, Braille materials, and accessible electronic and information technology as recommended solutions.

2012: Indiana House Bill 1301 introduced bill to provide tax credit for pharmacies piloting incorporation of assistive technologies into packaging of prescriptions for blind or visually impaired.  No further action.

2012: Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act

  • February 2012: HR 4087 sponsor, Congressman Edward J. Markey D-Mass
  • June 26, 2012: Senate passes S3187  Sponsor, Senator Tom Harken, D-IA
  • July 9, 2012: Signed by President Barack Obama
  • January 2015: Senator Markey requests feedback from major pharmacies on their progress of implementing “Best Practices
  • December 9, 2016  Government Accountability Office reports:  Actions Needed to Increase Awareness of Best Practices for Accessible Labels for Individuals Who are Blind or Visually Impaired”
  • July 10, 2013: United States Access Board releases “Best Practices
  • National Council of Disability creates brochure. Full education campaign unfunded so not completed.

2016: Affordable Care Act Section 1557  Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities final rule issued.  § 92.202 Effective communication for individuals with disabilities.  A covered entity must provide auxiliary aids and services to individuals with disabilities free of charge and in a timely manner when necessary to ensure an equal opportunity to participate and benefit from the entity’s health programs or activities.

2016  Government Accountability Office reports:  Actions Needed to Increase Awareness of Best Practices for Accessible Labels for Individuals Who are Blind or Visually Impaired”

2017 Nevada SB 131 Requires pharmacies to tell customers that audible prescription reader is available. Enacted into Law

2018 Ohio HB 659 Engrossed. No further action.

2019 Oregon HB 2935 Requires pharmacies to notify and provide patients with audible prescription labels  Enacted Into Law.

2019  Pennsylvania HB 125 require pharmacies to make accessible prescription drug container labels available to individuals who are deaf blind and visually-impaired when requested. No further action.

2019 Massachusetts S1252 legislation relative to accessible prescription labeling. No further action.

2019 Ohio HB 214 shall notify the person purchasing the drug that a prescription reader can be made available. If that person requests a prescription reader,the terminal distributor shall provide a prescription reader forat least the duration of the prescription. In Health Committee

2020 Minnesota SF 3152 and HF3370 requiring pharmacists to dispense a prescription using an

audible container label or braille container label. In Committees.