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Bill To Require Prescription Labeling for Non-English Speakers Moves Forward in California

A. via Flickr

A. via Flickr

Labels or instructions would have to be available in one of at least five other languages, upon a patient's request. Those languages are Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Korean or Russian.

"We know from research that patients can often misunderstand the prescription medication information, and for limited English proficient patients, these misunderstandings can be much more severe and much more frustrating," says Kimberly Chen of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, a supporter of the bill.

"By ensuring that they have access to medical information, it will help reduce medical errors, and ensure that patients are complying with their prescription information. It ultimately helps meet the needs of Californians."

Pharmacies already are required to provide verbal translations. 

Pharmacists say they don't have a problem providing written translations, but they want the bill to give them more flexibility in how that would be done. 

The bill moves next to the Assembly floor.

Pauline Bartolone


Pauline Bartolone has been a journalist for more than 15 years, during which she was Capital Public Radio’s healthcare reporter from 2011-2015. Her work has aired frequently on National Public Radio.  Read Full Bio 

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