Walmart has announced the national availability of En-Vision America's ScripTalk audible prescription labels at Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies.1

The labeling system places a RFID label on the bottom of a patient's prescription bottle, which is then placed on a battery-operated device called a ScripTalk Station that is provided to the patient at no charge. The station reads the prescription information out loud to the patient, including their name, prescription number, drug name, dosage, use instructions, warning, educational leaflets, and pharmacy information.1

More than 3.4 million (3%) of Americans over age 40 years are either legally blind or are visually impaired (defined as having a VA of 20/40 or less). It's estimated that 17% of those age 65 years or older report 'vision trouble.' The 1999 Survey of Income and Program Participation revealed that blindness or vision programs are among the top 10 disabilities for adults 18 or older.2

Pharmacists, therefore, have a key role to play in ensuring that patients with vision impairment are able to take their medications correctly.

Since its implementation in 2012 at 3 Walmart locations,3 almost 1200 Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies have been equipped with the audible prescription labels, with over 750 pharmacies equipped in the past 3 years. According to a company statement, an average of 25 additional Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies are set up to provide ScripTalk labels each month.

"The American Council of the Blind is excited Walmart and Sam's Club are showing their dedication to the safety and accessibility for the visually impaired through ScripTalk availability, setting an important standard in accessibility in healthcare," said Eric Bridges, Executive Director of the American Council of the Blind, in a statement.

Walmart and Sam's Clubs equip their pharmacies with ScripTalk upon a single patient's request for the system, usually within 7-10 days.

There are several strategies for improving medication adherence among patients with visual impairment, including use of large print, color coding prescription bottles based on the time of day they need to be taken, and braille labels.

Auditory aids such as apps have been utilized in some cases, but Walmart and Sam's Clubs are the first to implement such widespread use of a talking prescription label system.

References
  1. Walmart and Sam's Club Set Standard for Providing Accessible Prescription Labels Across U.S. Walmart Corporate [news release]. Bentonville, AR; July 18, 2019: Walmart website. https://corporate.walmart.com/newsroom/2019/07/18/walmart-and-sams-club-set-standard-for-providing-accessible-prescription-labels-across-u-s. Accessed July 19, 2019.
  2. CDC - Burden of Vision Loss - About Vision Health - Vision Health Initiative (VHI). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basic_information/vision_loss_burden.htm. Accessed July 19, 2019.
  3. Walmart Pilots ScripTalk Talking Prescription Program thorugh Walmart Mail Order and in Three Select Stores [news release]. Bentonville, AR; June 30, 2018; Walmart Inc. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/walmart-pilots-scriptalk-talking-prescription-program-through-walmart-mail-order-and-in-three-select-stores-158098425.html. Accessed July 19, 2019.