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Non-English speaking New Yorkers can soon look forward to receiving the purpose of their medication, prescription dosage, and side effect information in Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Russian and French.

As part of an effort to improve services to non-English speaking residents, five major pharmacies, including Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, Duane Reade and A&P have agreed to print drug information in five additional languages.  Rite Aid and CVS also reached a similar agreement with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo last year.

We can thank Make the Road New York, for these changes. Make the Road is a nonprofit organization that sent numerous complaints to Cuomo about the issue, resulting in an investigation on pharmacy practices.  Pharmacists must now ensure that business is done in a way that doesn’t discriminate against non-English speaking customers.

According to the census, there are over a million New Yorkers who do not speak English well or at all, reflecting the importance of translation services.  With the trend starting in New York, there are plans to expand the option to other states as well.

-Angela Donadic, Policy and Advocacy Fellow

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