Half of U.S. pharmacies no habla Espanol

From HealthDay News:

Nearly half of America’s pharmacies are unable to communicate with, or provide information to, non-English-speaking clients. That means as many as 168 million of the 4 billion prescriptions written each year could be going to patients who aren’t able to fully understand the information provided, putting them at risk of potentially harmful medication errors, a new study finds… The research, published in the August issue of Pediatrics, was led by Dr. Glenn Flores, professor of pediatrics and public health at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas…

Of the 128 pharmacies that responded to the survey, 53 percent could mostly or always provide non-English-language prescription labels; 46 percent could mostly or always provide non-English-language information packets; and 36 percent could mostly or always communicate in a non-English-language. Community pharmacies were least likely to be able to communicate with non-English-speaking clients, while those using telephone interpreter services were most likely to be able to communicate.

Of those pharmacies that could provide written information in a foreign language, most (88 percent for prescription labels, 95 percent for information packets) used computer software to do so. Among pharmacies providing verbal communication in a foreign language, two-thirds used bilingual staff, a third used telephone interpreters, and about one out of nine used a family member or friend of the patient to do so.

This is an area where both brick-and-mortar and online and mail-order pharmacies have room for improvement.


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