Support Fair Prescription Labeling in Washington
Join members of the Spokane Alliance in raising your voice for language access and justice in medical care by supporting House Bill 1852 Language Requirements for Prescription Drug Labels.
Language Access on Prescription Labels
Preventable mistakes with medications make up 1 out 5 of Emergency Room visits. Patients who have limited English proficiency are 2x more likely than fluent English speakers to make a mistake that could have serious consequences.
Inability to read prescription labels can be catastrophic. For example the word "once" in English looks the same as the word "once" in Spanish meaning "eleven" in English. Access to translated prescriptions labels will be invaluable in ensuring the safety and autonomy of our diverse communities in the healthcare environment.
House Bill 1852 Language Requirements for Prescription Drug Labels will promote health equity and autonomy for patients of limited English proficiency. The bill will require that prescription labels are translated into the 15 more popular languages in Washington State upon request by a patient.
The Washington State Pharmacy Association is currently trying to weaken the bill and give all decision making power over to the Pharmacy Commission. There is no guarantee that the Commission will require all 15 languages be made available to patients upon request.
This bill has passed the State House of Representatives. Contact your State Senator today and encourage their support. Find your State Senator here. Sample email below.
Title: HB 1852 Language Requirements for Prescription Drug Labels – Support
Dear Senator [NAME],
I am writing to urge you to support HB 1852 and keep crucial provisions in the bill.
The intent of this bill is to promote health equity and autonomy for patients of limited English proficiency. Research shows that 1 out of 5 emergency room visits is due to a preventable medication error and that the rate of medication errors is more than 2x greater for those with limited English proficiency than for fluent English speakers. With the rapidly growing population of Washingtonians with limited English proficiency (currently 1 out of every 13 people) this bill can have a powerful impact on their day-to-day lives and health outcomes. Access to translated prescriptions labels will be invaluable in ensuring the safety and autonomy of our diverse communities in the healthcare environment.
We need to ensure that the original intent of the bill is not compromised away. The Washington State Legislature must give clear guidance to the Pharmacy Commission that patients should be able to request the label on their prescription bottle be translated into one of the 15 most common languages in our state.
I am a member of the Spokane Alliance. By listening to the concerns of our 36 member institutions we choose to address real pressures in the lives of individuals and families. We have heard considerable concerns for non-English speakers who cannot read their prescription instructions. This is a critical equity issue in health care delivery and matters to our members.
HB-1852 is an extraordinary opportunity to address the pressing issues in our communities regarding health equity. With the many diverse backgrounds and levels of English proficiency in our communities, this is a bill that will have a significant impact on their livelihood. It also demonstrates the respect and gratitude we as a society have for our diverse communities and the cultures they share with us. For these reasons, the Spokane Alliance supports this legislation and encourages you strongly to support the upcoming bill.