FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Monday, March 12, 2012
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

NFB Endorses Legislation
to Improve Prescription Drug Labeling 

Baltimore, Maryland (March 12, 2012): The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest organization of blind people in the country, today endorsed H.R. 4087, the Prescription Drug Labeling Promotion Act of 2012.  This legislation, introduced by Congressman Edward D. Markey (D-MA) on February 28, is intended to ensure that people who are blind or have other print disabilities have full access to the information included on their prescription drug labels.

The legislation calls for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create a working group consisting of stakeholders—such as representatives of organizations of the blind—which will develop and propagate best practices and standards on access to prescription drug labels by the blind and visually impaired.  The working group would have one year after the date of the Act’s enactment to promulgate its guidance on best practices.

Eighteen months after the promulgation of best practices, the Comptroller General will evaluate the level of access blind people have to prescription drug labels, as well as the level of compliance by pharmacies, and submit a review to Congress.

“Blind people and those who are losing vision must have access to the critical information contained on prescription labels,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind.  “We thank Congressman Markey for introducing this legislation and look forward to participating in discussions to formulate best practices for making this information accessible.”

“No one should have to sacrifice their independence or safety to take their medication,” said Representative Markey, senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and author of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.  “Being unable to read prescription labels can lead to unnecessary illness and added emergency room visits.  The Prescription Drug Labeling Promotion Act helps turn pharmacies into partners for empowering all Americans to take full control of their health.  It is another important step to ensure that individuals who are blind can fully participate in 21st century society.”