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GAO Requests Pharmacies to Facilitate Prescription Labels for Visually Impaired

4 years 10 months 6 days ago Wednesday, December 14 2016 Dec 14, 2016 December 14, 2016 9:47 PM December 14, 2016 in News

WESLACO - Millions of blind or visually impaired patients have a hard time reading from their prescription drug containers.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, a government watchdog group, wants pharmacies to make those prescriptions easier to understand.

Rio Grande Valley resident Pablo Menchaca is partially blind. He said he takes about 10 pills a day to stay on top of his diabetes.

“You can’t just get up and go when you want to,” he said. “You’ve got to depend on friends, family or institutions that are there to help.”

However, the GAO said pharmacies could make drug taking easier for people like Menchaca. GAO’s Health Care team director John Dicken said all they have to do is print labels that people with vision impairment can understand.

“Pharmacies have the ability in many cases to provide labels. But very often, they are not dispensing labels that have large print or braille or audio formats that can be more accessible,” Dicken said.

Dicken said the problem is many pharmacies don’t want to make the extra expense for the specialized labels. He also said people who are blind or visually impaired should ask their pharmacy for these types of labels.

While the labels are options, they are not mandatory.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS visited a handful of pharmacies across the mid and upper Valley on Wednesday. They said they do not have the labels available. However, some pharmacies said they will look into larger labels. 

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