Ohio Accessible Pharmacy Directory Rule Filing


The Ohio Board of Pharmacy voted November 6, 2023 to file new rules regarding the reporting of accessible pharmacy services.  Many public comments were posted prior to the decision and can be viewed here

The new rule would require pharmacies applying or renewing their license to report what services they provide to those who are hearing impaired, vision impaired or in need of translation services.  The information will be put into an online directory that patients can access.

4729:5-2-05 - Notification of Accessible Services.

(A) Every outpatient pharmacy providing pharmacy services in this state shall report to the state
board of pharmacy, in a manner determined by the board, the following information on accessible
services provided by the pharmacy within ninety days of the effective date of this rule:

    (1) The type of language translation services, including translated prescription labels, for patients
who are of limited English proficiency;

    (2) The type of services available for patients who are hard of hearing; and

    (3) The type of services available for patients with low vision.

(B) As part of the licensure and renewal process established in rule 4729:5-2-02 of the
Administrative Code, an outpatient pharmacy providing pharmacy services in this state shall submit
information on the accessible services listed in paragraph (A) of this rule that are provided by the

(C) An outpatient pharmacy required to submit notification to the board in accordance with this
rule shall notify the board within thirty days of any change in the accessible services provided by
the pharmacy.

(D) Except as provided in paragraph (E) of this rule, a pharmacy that reports it offers
accessible services shall be required to provide those services to patients upon request.

(E) Paragraph (D) does not apply if the pharmacy experiences a temporary software or
equipment failure of the accessible service offered.

October is Medication Label Safety Awareness Month


October is Medication Label Safety Awareness Month

Medication Label Safety Awareness month is a great time to spread the word about the dangers of not being able to read medication labels.  In order to cram all that information into a tiny space the font ends up being so small.  There are many reasons why someone might not be able to read that fine print.  It could be due to a vision impairment, stroke, vestibular issue, brain injury or not knowing how to read English.  Not being able to read prescription labels can lead to serious medication errors, adverse events or to people just not taking their medication. 

Accessible prescription label formats can help patients to have access to this critical information in large print, Braille, Audible and translated formats.  Find out what you can do to help spread the word about accessible prescription label formatsRemember to Use #MSLA23 in your social media posts!  Visit https://mailchi.mp/envisionamerica/mlsa2023 for more information and resources to get involved in the #MLSA23 Campaign

Virginia BOP to Hold Workgroup Meeting

The Virginia Board of Pharmacy will hold a HB2147 Workgroup Meeting on September 28, 2023 to discuss translation services in pharmacies.  

HB 2147 directed the Board to evaluate challenges and barriers to requiring or providing translated directions for the use of prescriptions, including the possibility of model directions and necessary changes within pharmacies to ensure patients are aware of the language services available at the pharmacy

During HWI Subcommittee hearing, Delegate Guzman, sponsor of the bill explained the intent of the bill: "We want to ensure the residents of Virginia that speak a different language can have their prescription labels translated into a different language." 

Guzman said she has been working closely with the pharmacy industry and Board of Pharmacy in crafting the bill.  "As we see medicines that could have an impact that hurt peoples' lives, we want to make sure individuals understand the type of prescriptions that they have in the language they prefer" but they want to make sure smaller pharmacies are not negatively impacted.

The workgroup will explore all these issues and report back to the legislature with their findings.

Meeting Notice Posted:  https://www.townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewMeeting.cfm?MeetingID=37186


Governor Josh Green MD. of Hawaii Signs Accessible Prescription Labeling Bill



 July 7, 2023--Governor Josh Green MD of Hawaii spent the day signing bills that promote the safety and well-being of the elderly, those with disabilities and expanding language access in the state.

A range of bills was signed into law, noted Senator Henry Aquino, vice chair, Committee on Health and Human Services. “These measures covering important issues such as disability access to programs and services, language access for those involved in the court system and shoring up resources for our seniors are key to assuring a healthy and strong community,” said Senator Aquino (District 19 Pearl City, Waipahu, West Loch Estates, Hono‘uli‘uli, Ho‘opili). “I’m grateful and appreciative for the support of Governor Green and his administration, key legislative colleagues and community stakeholders who worked hard to make this a reality. We’re moving towards a much better place because of their efforts.” 

“Four words define today’s bill signing: vision, being bold, having compassion, and loving our ʻohana,” said Representative John Mizuno, chair of the House Committee on Human Services. “Our efforts also show that we’re not going to be Oʻahu-centric when it comes to improving services for disabilities, we are taking care of all islands,” said Representative Mizuno, (District 29 Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, portion of Kalihi).

Read the whole press release:  https://governor.hawaii.gov/newsroom/office-of-the-governor-news-release-gov-green-enacts-laws-supporting-the-elderly-and-persons-with-disabilities-and-expanding-language-access/

Watch the Bill Signing: https://fb.watch/lHOtZ5iIkJ/

More Than Words: Working Through Language Barriers in Healthcare

May 24, 2023 08:36PM

Maria Canales was her family's English-to-Spanish translator growing up. 

She began going with her parents to medical appointments when she was nine. Her family had recently moved to Connecticut from Puerto Rico and her parents struggled to learn English. In addition, Canales was "the baby" of the family, so she was always with one of her parents. 

From filling out forms to explaining her parents’ ailments to the doctors, Canales said translating for people became an ingrained daily task. Simple things like acronyms were a challenge for her parents, she added.

“Tons of times they gave me this prescription [and said] 'can you read what it says on the bottle?' Something as simple as that,” Canales said.

Although Latinos are the second largest ethnic group in the U.S, only 7% of doctors identify as Latino nationwide, according to Pew Research Center. In addition, the American Board of Family Medicine estimates that 22% of family physicians were fluent in Spanish nationwide from 2013 to 2019.

The lack of bilingual providers causes language barriers across all medical fields and leads to poorer health outcomes.

“The person goes home [after an appointment], they’ve gotten a prescription, they have no clue how to take it,” Canales said. “They’ve gotten no directions, but whatever’s on the paper, and the pharmacy is not going to print it in Spanish.”

Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act Reintroduced


Schakowsky Reintroduces Legislation to Guarantee Home-Use Medical Devices are Accessible to Blind and Low Vision Americans

March 1, 2023

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), a Chief Deputy Whip and Ranking Member on the Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, led 32 of her colleagues in reintroducing the bipartisan Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act. This bill would ensure that home-use medical devices are accessible to blind and low vision Americans across the country.

“I am proud to reintroduce the Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act, to ensure that medical devices, like insulin pumps and blood pressure monitors, are truly accessible to people who are blind or have low vision," said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky." Over seven million Americans are living with uncorrectable vision loss and more than one million Americans are blind. In many cases, a blind person's ability to manage their health and livelihood depends upon the ability to use these devices. As Americans, we cannot stand idly by while people who are blind or have low vision are excluded from a full, happy, and independent life due to these inaccessible technologies. This bill will help foster more inclusive and accessible care.”

The Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act calls on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create and enforce nonvisual accessibility standards for home-use medical devices, so that devices are fully accessible to blind or low-vision persons, out of the box. The bill also requires the FDA to consult with the disability community and manufacturers throughout the process.

"For millions of Americans who live with vision loss, visual impairment, low vision and blindness, accessing the results of at-home test kits, blood pressure and glucose monitors as well as other health and medical devices that have a digital interface is vital for these individuals to manage their own health and well-being and to meet the challenges of daily living. Prevent Blindness believes that visual accessibility is a matter of health equity and that addressing it can lead to improved health outcomes for patients," said Jeff Todd, President and CEO of Prevent Blindness. "The Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act is a necessary step toward ensuring people with visual impairments can equitably access information and make decisions about their own health and well-being. Prevent Blindness applauds Rep. Schakowsky for introducing this legislation, and we urge Congress to pass it swiftly."

“For far too long, inaccessible home-use medical devices and remote monitoring equipment has posed a direct threat to the health, safety, and independence of people who are blind and low vision. The American Council of the Blind commends Rep. Schakowsky for introducing this critical legislation, and we urge its swift passage,” said Eric Bridges, Executive Director of American Council of the Blind.

"Life-sustaining medical devices used in the home, such as insulin pumps and CPAP devices, have the potential to help blind people live the lives we want, but only if they are fully accessible," said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. "Currently, however, the inaccessible design of most of these devices makes their controls and displays difficult, or even impossible, for us to use them or monitor their operation. This is not a mere inconvenience; inaccessibility threatens our independence, health, and safety. Full access to all features of a device is critical and achievable. We therefore commend Representative Schakowsky for introducing this legislation and urge members of Congress to act swiftly to pass it."

Joining Rep. Schakowsky as original cosponsors are Reps. Sanford Bishop (GA-02), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Cori Bush (MO-01), Ed Case (HI-01), Sean Casten (IL-06), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Jesus "Chuy" García (IL-04), Gerald Connolly (VA-11), Angie Craig (MN-02), Danny Davis (IL-07), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-07), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Bill Keating (MA-09), Dan Kildee (MI-08), Annie Kuster (NH-02), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), John Larson (CT-01), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Mike Quigley (IL-05), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), John Rutherford (FL-05), John Sarbanes (MD-03), Pete Sessions (TX-17), Terri Sewell (AL-07), Adam Smith (WA-09), Dina Titus (NV-01), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), David Trone (MD-06), and Marc Veasey (TX-33).

National Federation of the Blind Press Release


National Federation of the Blind of Maryland Commends General Assembly for Requiring Accessible Prescription Labels

New Law Will Enhance Safety and Independence of Blind Marylanders

BALTIMORE, Maryland (May 8, 2023): The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland (NFBMD) applauds the Maryland General Assembly for passing a law that requires pharmacies to provide appropriate access to prescription labels for individuals who are blind or otherwise print disabled. This service will be provided free of charge for patients who need it. The legislation was signed into law yesterday by Governor Wes Moore.

The Maryland Board of Pharmacy is now tasked with creating regulations to enforce the implementation of accessible prescription labels at pharmacies throughout the state, according to the legislation.

This is an initiative that the National Federation of the Blind has supported for some time. The transformative membership organization of blind Americans authored a Model Bill to support the need for accessible prescription label legislation across the states. The National Federation of the Blind of Maryland used this model bill as a stepping stone to work with state legislators to introduce the legislation.

“In a nutshell, as of January 1, 2025, any of us in Maryland should be able to walk into our local pharmacy or call in a prescription, tell them we want accessible labels in Braille or large print or audio, and get those prescriptions with the label type of our choice, at no extra cost to us, in the same timeframe as any other patient,” explained Ronza Othman, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland. “I want to particularly thank delegate Michele Guyton and Senator C. Anthony Muse for sponsoring this legislation and seeing it through to passage, and we commend the General Assembly for understanding how critically important this is to blind Marylanders.”

For a copy of the legislation, click here.

Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
410-659-9314, extension 2330
410-262-1281 (cell)

Aloha to Accessible Prescriptions in Hawaii

May 2, 2023 the Hawaii House and Senate both passed legislation requiring pharmacies to provide patients who are blind, visually impaired or print impaired with accessible prescription labels.  The law is now headed to the governor who is expected to sign it

The final version of the bill requires pharmacies to: provide an electronic label affixed to the prescription bottle and/or a prescription drug reader.

Pharmacies must also make sustained, periodic and reasonable efforts to inform the public that accessible label formats are available. 

The Board of Pharmacy will have the ability to grant exemptions to the law for sole proprietorship pharmacies with no more than two pharmacists who can demonstrate it would be a financial burden. The Board can also deny, revoke, or suspend a pharmacy license or impose a fine of up to $1000 per violation for failure to comply.

The law goes into effect July 1, 2023 and the Board of Pharmacy has until December 31, 2024 to finalize the rules and regulations for full implementation and enforcement. 

To see full text of the law:  https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/sessions/session2023/bills/HB218_CD1_.HTM

Florida Board of Pharmacy Adds Procedure Manual Requirement for Fully Informing Visually Impaired Patients

 Board Seal

UPDATE:  The 64B16—28.108 rule revision went into effect on July 18, 2023.
On April 13, 2023 the Florida Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously to revise code 64B16—28.108 regarding Labels and Labeling of Medicinal Drugs to require pharmacies to include how they will accommodate blind and visually impaired patients as part of their policy and procedures manual. 
The additional language was drafted by the Board's Counsel in response to a request by the National Federation of the Blind of Florida to consider rulemaking to require accessible prescription labels.
The board determined that to really create specific requirements, they need a legislative change.  If they attempted to create rules exacting specific requirements the financial report phase would probably take longer than if legislation was passed.  Still, they expressed an understanding of the need for pharmacies to accommodate their blind and visually impaired patients and added the clause to remind pharmacies to have a policy in place:  

64B16—28.108 All Permits – Labels and Labeling of Medicinal Drugs.
Each container of medicinal drugs dispensed shall have a label or shall be accompanied by labeling. Every pharmacy that dispenses a medicinal drug to a patient or agent of the patient shall ensure that the
pharmacy’s policy and procedures manual covers dispensing to the blind or visually impaired. The manual must make certain to address that those with visual  impairments are fully informed of all the information required to be part of the label or labeling
Listen to the conversations and read more at: 

Maryland Passes Accessible Labeling Legislation


Due to the hardwork of Delegate Michele Guyton, Senator Anthony Muse and the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland an accessible prescription labeling bill has passed and is on it's way to the Governor. In committee hearings, members of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland provided descriptive and moving testimony detailing the struggles and dangers of managing medications with vision loss.

This bill directs the state Board of Pharmacy to adopt regulations necessary to ensure that individuals who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print impaired have appropriate access to prescription labels, bag tags, and medical guides (patient education information).  The law goes into effect in October 2023, and the Board of Pharmacy must complete the regulations by January 1, 2025.  

The regulations must include:

  • accommodations are at no additional cost to the individual
  • in a format fully accessible to the patient
  • provided in a time frame comparable to which the information is provided to other patients who are not visually impaired
  • the best practices for accessible labels previously published by the Government Accountability office in 2016
  • a method for notifying customers that accessible prescription labels are available

 For full information on this bill visit: https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Legislation/Details/HB0456?ys=2023RS