Sunday, June 10, 2012

Steps in the Right Direction

Two years ago, I received a scholarship from the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International.  Because I was a scholarship recipient, I was asked to attend the annual American Council of the Blind convention.  At the convention, I became more educated about issues affecting the blind and visually impaired.  One of the most discussed issues was the lack of access to information on prescription labels.  Being able to read prescription labels is a simple task that most fully sighted persons probably don’t think about.

Two years later, changes are being made to allow for a greater level of independence for persons with low vision.  At the end of May, S.3187, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, passed the Senate.  Under S.3187, the U.S. Access Board, pharmacies, and representatives from the blind and visually impaired community shall work together to establish practices that ensure that people who are blind or visually impaired have independent access to their medications.  For example, the information on the pill bottles could be provided in large print or Braille, or pharmacies could offer auditory aids, such as “talking bottles,” which are basically digital voice recorders attached to pill bottles.

In a press release last week, Walmart announced that talking prescription containers will be available for their customers with low vision across the country through mail order and at three Walmart stores.  Walmart is the first national pharmacy retailer to pilot a test program for a talking prescription system on a national basis.

When I first heard about talking prescription bottles at the ACB convention, it seemed like an interesting invention, but I wondered if I would ever see them in pharmacies. Look at the progress we have made!

The Senate passed an Act. A national retailer announced a pilot program. What will happen next?!?

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Tiffany! Do you know if Walgreen's has implemented something on a national level? For some reason, I thought they had, but they may only have it available in certain areas. This is definitely a positive for Wal-Mart!


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