Pharmacy Translation Initiative

There’s a new initiative being pushed in New York to provide language assistance in all chain pharmacies to those residents who don’t speak English. Many citizens are not able to read or understand a pharmacist’s instructions of their medications. Nisha Agarwal, director of the Health Justice Program, reveals that 88% of pharmacists see patients with limited English proficiency daily, but only 39% of pharmacists translated labels daily. “The pharmacist couldn’t explain to them how to take their medicine in a language they would understand,” Agarwal said.
A bill has been passed already that requires pharmacies to print prescription labels in the 7 most common languages in the state. The new initiative would require a translation service for every language, most likely through a phone service. It would also require pharmacies to post signs, making patients aware of their right to a translator.