2004N-0221 - Medicare Modernization Act Section 107(f) - Study on Making Prescription Pharmaceutical Information Accessible for Blind and Visually-Impaired Individuals; Establishement of Docket
FDA Comment Number : EC4
Submitter : Ms. Suzanne Ressa Date & Time: 06/10/2004 04:06:03
Organization : Helen Keller National Center
Health Professional
Category :
Issue Areas/Comments
B. Information About the Use of Prescription Medication Information By People Who Are Blind or Visually-Impaired
4c. What types of medication errors are most common among people who are blind or visually impaired?
1. They don't know what the warnings and side effects are regarding the medication
2. If they take several medications, they forget what they are for
3. If they drop their pill case, they don't know how to sort and reorganize their pills
4. They cannot tactually identify their pills
5. They confuse their medications because they are all stored in similar bottles.
6. They don't know when the prescription expires
3. How can essential drug information be effectively communicated to people who are blind or visually impaired?
Many individuals who are blind or visually impaired (and sometimes Deaf-blind) use computer technology and a device called the Braille Note to access information and store important information regarding their drug prescriptions. Medications that can easily be tactually identified (by the size and shape) are also helpful for the visually impaired. Medications in pill form that have an identifying feature, such as a nick or a tactual marking on them are also helpful. Color coded bottles would be helpful (for individuals with low vision) and large print labels would also help. In addition, Braille or tactual markings on the bottles would also be helpful. Changing the size, texture or shape of the medicine bottles would also be beneficial. Ideally, it would be great if there was a scanning device (possibly run through a PC computer system) that could translate information about the medication to the individual. Pharmacies could also help out by sending e-mails with pertinent information to their customers about the drugs they order and adjusting the language level to meet the needs of the individual.
2. What aspects of visual impairment are important to addressing the issue of access to prescription drug information?
The aspects of visual impairment that are important to accessing prescription drug information are; the reading level of the individual, the mode of communication that they prefer such as large print, Braille, voice output device etc., their familiarity with technology and computers and their sensitivity to tactual cues.
1. How do people who are blind and visually-impaired currently get their prescription drug information?
Typically people who are blind and visually impaired get their prescription drug information from their pharmacy or physician, but the information regarding the type of medication, the dosage and the side affects etc. is translated for them by a friend or family member because they cannot read the label on the medicine bottle nor can they read the insert describing the medication, usage and side effects. In addition, people who are blind
and visually impaired must often have their medications explained to them because the printed information from the company that produces the medication is not given to them in their preferred mode of communication such as large print or Braille.