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April 19, 2024

Prescription Label Accessibility for Blind Coloradans Passes House

DENVER, CO - The House today passed legislation to make prescription drug labels more accessible to blind, visually impaired and print-impaired Coloradans. HB24-1115, sponsored by Representatives Mary Young and Junie Joseph, passed by a vote of 48 to 12.

“The information on prescription labels provides important details that enable patients to safely and effectively take medication – we need to ensure blind, visually impaired and print-impaired Coloradans can readily access this information,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley. “If you can’t access the label of your prescription medication, it could lead to negative health consequences including death. This bill allows Coloradans to have agency over their health care by making sure prescription labels are accessible for blind, visually impaired and print-impaired Coloradans.”

“Prescription labels outline important information related to dosage and frequency, and this bill makes labels more accessible to blind or visually and print-impaired Coloradans,” said Rep. Junie Joseph, D-Boulder. “Our bill will increase reading accessibility of prescription labels so that blind, and visually impaired Coloradans can access the live-saving information they need. We’re committed to improving accessibility throughout our state, and this bill tackles prescription labels.”

HB24-1115 would require a pharmacy to provide blind, visually impaired and print-impaired Coloradans with access to prescription drug label information. The bill would require pharmacies to, upon request, provide patients with:

  • An electronic label, like a QR code, on the container that can transmit the label information and instructions to the person’s accessibility device,

  • A no-cost prescription drug reader that provides the label information in an audio format,

  • Prescription drug label information in braille or large print, or

  • Any other method recommended by the US Access Board.

Small pharmacies with less than two pharmacists may request the Colorado State Board of Pharmacy for an exemption if they believe it will greatly burden their business. The bill also allows Colorado patients to sue non-compliant pharmacies on the basis of disability discrimination, and creates the Prescription Accessibility Grant Program to provide grants to pharmacies for the purchase of equipment used to create accessible prescription labels.

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