Washington, DC – March 20, 2014 – The National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency that advises the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policy, welcomes the settlement agreement announced March 18 between CVS/pharmacy and the American Council of the Blind, the California Council of the Blind and the American Foundation for the Blind that will make ‘ScripTalk’ talking prescription labels available to online and mail order customers across the United States. CVS customers who are blind or visually impaired may obtain a free device to read the labels.
“Accessible prescription labels equal independence,” said NCD’s Janice Lehrer-Stein. “We applaud this agreement and look forward to the day when full inclusion and accessibility with the medications we take becomes the new standard. The commitment to accessible label information by CVS is an important and necessary step forward toward ensuring safety for millions of prescription drug users including seniors and persons with vision-related disabilities.”
“No one should have to risk injury or worse when taking prescription medications,” said NCD Chair Jeff Rosen. “As the agreement between CVS, the American Council of the Blind, the California Council of the Blind and the American Foundation for the Blind illustrates, the technology to make talking prescription labels accessible to customers with disabilities is increasingly available and should become the standard used by all pharmacy vendors.”
A company news release reported: “CVS will also continue to meet with the organizations to discuss other alternative methodologies to improve accessibility to prescription label information and drug monograph information for patients and customers with visual impairments.”
Background on Accessible Prescription Drug Labels:
In July 2012, President Obama signed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety and Innovation Act (s.3187) into law requiring the United States Access Board to convene a working group of consumer and industry stakeholders to compile best practices for making information on prescription drug container labels accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired or who are elderly. The 18-member working group included representatives of national organizations representing individuals and seniors who are blind or have low vision and pharmaceutical companies and industry groups. Best practices for pharmacies to use, including specific directions for different formats or options, were compiled by the working group and submitted to the Access Board. The National Council on Disability is conducting public awareness around the findings of the report.
To read the Access Board Working Group’s report, “Best Practices for Making Prescription Drug Container Label Information Accessible to Persons Who are Blind or Visually-Impaired or Who are Elderly,” go to: http://www.access-board.gov/guidelines-and-standards/health-care/about-prescription-drug-container-labels/working-group-recommendations
About the National Council on Disability (NCD): NCD is an independent federal agency of 15 Presidentially-appointed Council Members and full-time professional staff, who advise the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policy, programs, and practices.