Sample Letter to the Board of Pharmacy for Dual Language Prescription Labels


To Whom It May Concern,

[Legislator] recently reintroduced [bill number] which would require pharmacies in [state] to dual language prescription labels as an accommodation for those with limited English proficency. No matter the outcome of this bill, [Our Organization] is requesting the [State] Board of Pharmacy create rules to require pharmacies in [state] to offer dual language prescription labels.

Creation of these rules would assist pharmacies in becoming compliant with the the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 13166 of 2000, and Affordable Care Act Section 1557, and the National CLAS Standards in Health and Health Care.

The CDC estimates that non-adherence to medication treatments cause 30 to 50% of the chronic disease treatment failures. Multiple health literacy studies have demonstrated that access to intelligible prescription label information increases adherence to medication treatment plans.

Managing complex medical conditions and multiple medications can be confusing and stressful even when you have all necessary information at your disposal. It can also become dangerous when you can’t read prescription label instructions or identify prescription errors.  Patient caused medication errors are a major reason for emergency room visits and hospitalization causing millions of dollars of unnecessary healthcare expenses and injuries.

Rear Admiral Felicia Collins, M.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health said: “With more than 26 million people in the United States who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English, people with limited English proficiency have a higher risk for experiencing health care disparities,” Communication and equitable access to vital prescription information is a key component to reducing errors. These medication errors are avoidable with dual language prescription labels.

[This is a good place to insert your personal example if you like]

The underlying causes of health inequity are diverse and complex and often very hard to address, but here is a situation where it is very easy to identify and rectify the problem with a concrete solution of accessible labeling. Let’s make sure [our state’s] pharmacy standards are protecting the most vulnerable and eliminating the root causes of health inequities in our health system.