Washington State Prescription Labeling Bill Passes House


Washington Capitol and Seal and words Washington State Legislature

 February 9, 2022, Engrossed Substitute House Bill 185 sponsored by Representatives Thai, Cody, Gregerson, Macri, Santos, Slatter, Valdez, Pollet, and Riccelliwas passed by the Washington House. 

This bill will require the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission to create rules for pharmacies to provide dual language prescription labels for at least the 15 most commonly spoken languages in Washington and rules for providing audible, large print and Braille prescription labels for those who are visually impaired.

Even before the bill was proposed the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission was already discussing similar rulemaking for pharmacies. The bill will provide some perimeters and deadlines to guide them through the process.

At the January 17th House Health Care and Wellness hearing the committee chair, Rep. Cody said: "When these students brought this issue to me and discussed it, I was embarrassed to realize our current law had not taken this into effect.  We already paid for and made sure providers have language translators, but it never occurred to me that when they go down to the pharmacy they don't get their drugs in a language they understand. And I think it is a miracle we haven't had more people die from getting their prescriptions that they are not able to read."

Other legislators and physicians testified about their own personal experience when only a child with limited understanding of English and medical information being asked to translate for parents or family members.

The bill passed the House  64-32 (with 2 excused) out of the House.  It will now proceed to the Senate which had it's own version of the bill SB5840 sponsored by Senator Keiser.

Follow Bill and Read Full Text