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 : EC13
Submitter : Miss. Laura Mannon Date & Time: 07/07/2004 06:07:15
Organization : National federation of the Blind
Individual Consumer
Category :
Issue Areas/Comments
Docket No: 2004N-0221

To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to comment on the inaccessibility of prescription drug labels to the blind. I am a 25-year-old woman who lost my sight a year and a half ago. I take approximately ten medications for an underlying nerve disorder known as adhesive arachnoiditis. Trying to keep all these medications straight is a challenge since I am just learning Braille and there are too many bottles to mark in other ways as with markers. Currently I have to have a parent or another sighted individual tell me what the prescription bottle is when I get a new prescription and then base on feel what the medication is. My bottles are labeled in Braille as well but I also need a sighted individual to use the labeler to make the labels for the bottles as well. Since I do take several controlled substances there is always a fear at the pharmacy with the pharmacist telling me what each pill is at the counter. It is not only a privacy issue but it has become a safety issue. By having the pharmacist read out loud what I am taking and showing me I not have only lost my independents, but I have also put my self at risk for someone to know my medical history a little. I have also put myself at risk for someone to steal my controlled substances. By having a talking script or the talking Rx technology in which there is a little chip that is on the bottle that states what the prescription is and how many times to take the medication I would be given back some independence as well as I would be safer because the pharmacist does not in front of everyone have to tell me what the drug is and what it feels like. This new technology of script talk or talking RX also would help me to eliminate drug mistakes. There has been several times when I have taken the wrong medication because I thought it was another medication. No major harm came to me but something could have if it was a different medication. There are also times on a bi-monthly bases where I have near drug mistakes. Where I have almost taken the wrong medication at the wrong time and if I had not gone back and checked all the bottles to double check what I had in my hand was the medication I thought I had, often realizing that it was not what I thought it was I could have had caused myself some harm all because the label on the bottle was not accessible to me. By having this new technology on the medication bottles I will not have to rely on my weak Braille skills or by feel of the medication to identify the medication. This new prescription drug technology offer the blind more independence as well as safer access to medications. It is my sincere hope that this new technology or some accessible ways will become available for me to read and access the information on my medication not only for my safety in taking the medication, picking up the medication, but most importantly in allowing me to gain more independence.
Laura Ann Mannon