National Federation of the Blind and Two Blind Patients Sue Ohio-based Mail Order Pharmacy Exact Care
The plaintiffs say failure to provide accessible prescription information led to serious adverse health outcomes.
Cleveland, Ohio (December 12, 2023): The National Federation of the Blind, the transformative membership and advocacy organization of blind Americans, and two blind Cleveland residents —Theresa McKenney and Shirley Patterson — have filed a lawsuit against Exact Care, an Ohio-based mail-order pharmacy. The lawsuit claims that Exact Care failed to provide critical prescription information in accessible formats despite knowing that the two individual plaintiffs were blind when it solicited their business and receiving repeated requests from them for accessible information.
Both of the individual plaintiffs were blind or had low vision when they began using Exact Care’s services and were specifically told by company representatives that the service would be more useful and convenient for them. But despite repeatedly requesting instructions in alternative formats (such as large print or audio) with the company’s “ExactPacks” containing their individualized prescription doses, they claim that Exact Care ignored their requests. As a result, they experienced difficulties in understanding dosage instructions, potential side effects, and medication interactions. This caused serious adverse health outcomes, including kidney damage and heart disease, and accompanying emotional distress. According to the complaint filed in federal district court for the northern district of Ohio, Exact Care's conduct violates provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (because Exact Care receives federal funds through Medicare and Medicaid) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as well as Ohio law.
“Exact Care promised to make medication management for these blind and low-vision patients easier and less stressful, but did exactly the opposite,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “Even after receiving repeated requests from them, Exact Care refused to implement the simple and readily available solutions that they recommended, and which are already being used by pharmacies large and small across America. We demand that Exact Care compensate Ms. McKenney and Ms. Patterson for harming them, and that the company take immediate action to provide accessible information to blind customers, ensuring they can manage their medications safely and independently. Accessibility is not a matter of mere convenience, but a fundamental right that is essential to living a healthy, productive life."
Ms. McKenney, Ms. Patterson, and the National Federation of the Blind are represented by Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum and Jamie Strawbridge at Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP, and by John Marshall and Louis A. Jacobs at the law firm Marshall Forman & Schlein LLC.