Writing Letters of Support or Testimony

Providing your testimony to the committee or legislature considering a bill regarding accessible prescription labeling can influence the passage and amendment process if changes need to be made to make it achieve the desired end result.
Ideally, the collection of testimonies provided to the legislature or committee will include a wide range of experiences that demonstrate the key points the law is designed to address.  If you are part of a group, perhaps have a discussion about who will focus their testimony on which of the talking points below so the gambit of issues are addressed through the testimonies. 
The purpose of the testimony is to demonstrate how the law would assist both you and the pharmacist in more effective communication, equal access to printed prescription information required by the FDA, and provide personal safety, independence and pursuit of health and happiness. 
When writing, keep these key points in mind:
  • The difficulty of managing prescriptions when you cannot read the label
  • Equal access to mandated prescription information
  • The challenge of requesting accommodation at the pharmacy
  • The (in)effectiveness of solutions already offered
  • The personal and financial cost of medication errors for patient and pharmacy

Sample Outline:
1.       Introduction
a.    Identify yourself and the organization you represent.
b.   Name the committee members and sponsors in your greeting. If someone is local or near your area, be sure to mention that and that you appreciate their time.
c.  Present your position, specify the Bill: Explain why you support the legislation generally. Get into specifics below.
2.       Body demonstrates the need for equal access to critical prescription label information.
a.     Pick one or two facts or data as evidence of the need.  Number in your state of blind or persons whose primary language is not English, CDC statistics, etc. 
                  b.      Give an example of one or two of the following that best suit your situation:
  • Your experience managing multiple medications without being able to read the label.  Errors that have been made (yours or the pharmacy’s). How it made you feel.  “Solutions” that have not worked. So and so wants to help, but this solution is just not cutting it. Or I appreciate their willingness to try, but we need something solid to enforce this.
  • Your experience requesting accessible prescription labels and being denied.  Explain what the reasoning for the denial.  If your pharmacist said they would like to provide the service but corporate decisions prevented them, be sure to state that as well.
  • Your experience of being referred to another pharmacy a distance away or a mail order option and the struggles of utilizing that option to demonstrate the need for service at the window.  (no ride, controlled substances cannot be mailed, meds arriving in an untimely manner, does not accept insurance).
  • Your experience being given “at the window” counseling or intrepreting or an alternative format (Braille, large print, a translated printout) but not being able to access the information once home(you’re not a Braille reader, the font wasn’t big enough, the page got separated from the bottle, etc) or the pharmacist not being available for questions after hours when you needed info about meds.
  • An example of the cost of medication errors personally or financially for you and/or your pharmacist. How did it make you and your family feel?  How did the pharmacist feel? What other ramifications were there?
  • Your Success Story!!!  A personal experience that demonstrates how accessible/dual language prescription labels benefit both patient and pharmacist.  Demonstrating how accessible/dual language prescription labels are successful is critical.
c.    Explain how this law is the best solution to the problem.  This law gives grounds to stand on to ensure the right to medication safety is fulfilled. All people should have equal access to prescription information regardless of disability. 
3.    Conclusion/rephrase your support:   I urge you to support and pass Bill # which will enable.... or because...  and thank them again.