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The Checkered Eye Project

People wearing this symbol have partial blindness aka low vision.

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Accessible prescriptions.

In Ontario we have a law called the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act or AODA. Part of what is now required of businesses in Ontario is to have a policy stating how they will manage accessibility issues.

As a person with a vision disability access to information is a major challenge for me.

There is a lot of information squeezed onto many drug containers, prescription or not. Picture the size of the font on your average bottle of headache pills. Does it give you a headache?

Once I was aware that drug stores are supposed to have some process in place by which they would make the information they distribute accessible, I began requesting accessible information on my prescriptions.

After what I would call a lot of “the runaround”, I made a hard copy of what I’d like on the prescription I get every 3 months, and brought it up to show my pharmacist. I was assured that there had been a note entered on my file and things should meet my request from then on. That was in January of 2017. They have never succeeded so far. Each time I pick up my meds, I check it and see that they haven’t done anything differently. Each time they go back and see that yes there is a note on my file. And each time they do it while I wait.

I have brought them up literature about the various methods by which prescriptions can be rendered accessible. One pharmacist said it was really hard to do what I was asking and also let me know in a “quit bugging me” kind of way that I was the only one asking for this.

I called another drug store in town to find out what they do. On the first call the pharmacist seemed completely unaware of what I was getting at. She told me she’d look into it and get back to me. I called back a few days later and she told me they use a system by which they send the information to a company called “Scriptalk” and they send the customer a device that can read the specialized tag they put on their bottle. Fantastic. When I asked a few questions about this she said they’d never done it for anyone so far. I let her know that they are required by the AODA to make it known to the public that they provide this service.

I’d switch to that pharmacy but mine is within walking distance.

I’m doing my best to respect the fact that these people are trying to run a business and that I am making requests that are unusual. I am speaking for myself and those who may not be as comfortable with voicing their needs. I am working at being polite about it.

I heard a quote the other day “Nothing changes till someone’s an asshole about it”. Ihope that’s not always true.

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