Drug-label decision stalls

State Board of Pharmacy punts decision on translating Rx directions

A decision on whether pharmacists in California will be required to translate prescription drug labels for those who understand little or no English was postponed last week.

During a California State Board of Pharmacy meeting on July 31, the panel decided further review was necessary, passing the issue on to its Communication and Public Education Committee, according to California Healthline. Several speakers urged the board to require printed and translated medication labels, arguing that oral translation is insufficient and dangerous for those who don’t fully understand English.

Naysayers included representatives from CVS Caremark and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, who maintain that requiring pharmacists to translate directions in languages they don’t understand is a huge liability.

However, stakeholders conceded that some changes to the current prescription-delivery model are in order.