Pharmacy Times
Volume 0

Non?English-speaking New Yorkersface a language barrier at the pharmacycounter, according to immigrant andhealth care advocates.

The majority of pharmacies, mainly inthe outer boroughs, do not providetranslation services to their patients.Some advocates said that although thestate approved regulations in 2006 thatset out language requirements for hospitals,pharmacies were overlooked. Areport by the New York Academy ofMedicine found that two thirds of citypharmacies do not translate prescriptionlabels, even though 88% said they servedlimited?English-proficiency patients daily.

Nisha Agarwal, a staff attorney withNew York Lawyers for the Public Interest,believes the city's existing humanrights laws, which bar discriminationbased on race or ethnicity in publicplaces, require pharmacies to translate.Agarwal's law firm and Make the Roadby Walking have filed a complaint withthe state's attorney general's officeclaiming that 16 pharmacies in Queensand Brooklyn regularly failed to translatedrug labels or provide instruction to non-English speakers,thus violatingtheir statutoryduty.

The grouphopes that thelegislation beingdrafted will mirrorwhat thestate mandatedfor hospitals in2006, making languageaccess a requirement of qualityhealth care.

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