7th October 2016
Shoppers Drug Mart to provide audio prescription info for sight-impaired customers
by BETHANY LINDSAY
Until recently, blind people managing multiple prescriptions had to rely on memory to keep track of all the different medications. But in British Columbia there’s a movement to change all that with audio prescription labels, and one of the country’s biggest pharmacy chains has agreed to come on board.
In a settlement with the advocacy group Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers over a human rights complaint, Shoppers Drug Mart has agreed to provide auditory labelling free of charge at all of its locations in British Columbia.
Richmond’s Rob Sleath, who filed the human rights complaint, described the settlement as huge for people with vision impairments.
“What it does more than anything else is it gives me independence, it gives me confidence, and it allows me to know I’m taking these medications safely and properly,” he said.
“It allows me to know not only what I’m consuming but what some of the possible warnings and side effects from taking that medication might be.”
The new labels are encoded with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology that can be read aloud using a device called a ScripTalk Reader that the manufacturer loans to customers free of charge. A robotic voice lists off all the same information that a sighted customer might find on his or her written prescription label, including the dosage schedule, side effects, number of refills and warnings about drug interactions.