Medication Label Survey Results

In 2008, AFB launched an RX Label Enable Campaign to determine issues that people with vision loss were having with accessing medications and issued an Access to Drug Labels Survey Report.

In 2011, AFB followed up with a survey to respond to model standards being proposed by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP). Almost 200 people responded. From the results, it is evident that people with vision loss still find themselves unable to take prescription and over-the-counter medicines safely, effectively, and independently due to inaccessible printed drug labeling information.

In a nutshell, survey respondents stated loudly and clearly that the proposed model standards do not account for the needs of people with vision loss. The respondents shared their inability to read prescription labels in the proposed standard of at least 12-point Times New Roman or 11-point Arial font. Respondents indicated that one solution will not meet the needs of the variety of visual problems that people experience. Rather, respondents shared the need for both enhanced visual access and enhanced non-visual access to medication labels depending on their personal situation.

Here are the major issues that surfaced:

  1. Need for large print (larger than the proposed standard of 12-point font) to help access medication labels
  2. Need for attention to contrast and organization of printed information to help access medication labels
  3. Need for audible recording to help access medication labels
  4. Need for a combination of enhanced visual and non-visual access to medication labels

In conclusion, the serious negative consequences of unreadable drug labeling information continue to affect the more than 25 million Americans with vision loss in physically and emotionally devastating ways. This latest survey demonstrates that there is not one drug labeling solution suitable for all to meet the needs of the variety of visual problems that people experience and that the proposed model standards do not account for the needs of people with vision loss. Rather, there is a prevalent need for both enhanced visual access and enhanced non-visual access to medication labels.

Here are some tips you can use to help you organize your medications and some suggestions for your pharmacist.

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