Top 10 Avenues for Advocacy

When advocating for accessible prescription labels for yourself or a loved one, there are many avenues you can take. Start with the smallest, least centralized authority and work your way up.

Often a pharmacy may simply not realize there is a problem or know of a good solution. Be prepared to offer several possible solutions. They are not obligated to use your favorite solution, but often times, telling them what you would prefer and why, is helpful.

Pharmacy/Store Manager: Talk to your pharmacist, pharmacy manager and/or store owner. Explain what the problem is and what accommodation you would like.

Corporate Compliance Officer: If a store/pharmacy does not provide accommodations then the next step is to contact the corporate compliance officer. If it is an independent pharmacy with less than 15 employees or a pharmacy that does not participate in Medicare or Medicaid, they may not be required to have a compliance officer.

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act requires all covered entities to post a notice of consumer civil rights; covered entities with 15 or more employees are also required to have a civil rights grievance procedure and an employee designated to coordinate compliance.

Most major pharmacies will have contact information for this compliance officer on their website. You should also be able to call the regular customer service number and ask for the compliance office's contact information.

Here are some examples:
Publix:
https://ww4.publix.com/pharmacy-wellness/pharmacy/healthcare-nondiscrimination
CVS:
https://www.cvs.com/bizcontent/general/CVS_Pharmacy_Nondiscrimination_Policy.pdf
Walgreens:
https://www.walgreens.com/topic/information/access-to-services.jsp

Letter from an advocate or lawyer on your behalf:  If a conversation with the pharmacy representative does not resolve the issue, sometimes a letter from a Disability Rights lawyer explaining their legal obligation can help. There are many disability rights advocates and lawyers who may be willing to write this kind of letter pro-bono. One of our earliest blog posts gives a sample letter.

Local or State Disability Rights Council: If your city or state has a disability rights organization or council, you can talk with them about local advocacy and educating pharmacists in your area.

Board of Pharmacy: The state board of pharmacy provides audits of each pharmacy to make sure they are in compliance with all state regulations. Letters of complaint can be filed with the Board.  Usually the process is detailed on their website.

State Human Rights Commission: Most states have a Human Rights Commission to investigate discrimination and provide mediation between parties if you have been discriminated against because of your race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, or religion. Most have the forms you need available online. Visit https://askjan.org/concerns/State-Human-Rights.cfm

Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights: If you believe that you have been discriminated against in programs or activities that HHS directly operates or to which HHS provides federal financial assistance (for example Medicaid or Medicare), you may file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights. Visit https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/filing-a-complaint/complaint-process/index.html

Department of Justice: Another route for those who are not covered under the HHS mandate (not on Medicaid or Medicare) is to file an ADA complaint with the DOJ.  Visit https://www.ada.gov/filing_complaint.htm

State Legislation: You can contact your state legislators and ask them to sponsor an accessible prescription labeling bill in your state.

Congress: Let your Representatives and Senators know how you feel about mandating accessible prescription labeling.






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