Prescription labels need to come in languages other than English

Prescription labels need to come in languages other than English

As the saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.” That applies to physicians when prescribing medications, but it also should apply to pharmacies when they’re dispensing medications.

In December, after seven years of exams, lectures and rounds, I received my medical license. Finally, I had the power to prescribe medications without the co-signature of my supervisor. “Be careful,” she advised, “remember the story of ‘once.’”

The story of “once” is a cautionary tale that — best as I am able to tell from Google — was adapted from a Spanish soap opera.

In one version, a doctor prescribes a patient a 30-day supply of a medication. Three days later, the patient returns for a refill. “How can this be?” the doctor wonders. The Spanish-speaking patient responds, “I took the pills exactly as the bottle said to: ’11 daily.’” The doctor scrutinized the pill bottle: “Take once daily.” But “once” read and pronounced “ohn-say” means 11 in Spanish. The patient had taken 11 pills daily, just as the bottle label said — in Spanish.

The patient lives in that story, but in other versions he is hospitalized or even dies. Shortly after I received my license, I had my own version.

Mr. P is a 65-year-old gentleman originally from Mexico. He speaks English well enough to have a light conversation but would be classified as limited English proficient, or LEP. That means he speaks English less than “very well,” and he is not unique: 40% of Californians speak a language other than English at home, and more than 6 million Californians are LEP.

He has diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease, and takes 10 medications daily. He is a perfect candidate to be one of 150,000 Californians who are sickened or killed each year because of medication errors.

I had hoped to help him. He was taking one blood pressure medication twice a day, so I changed it to the once-a-day formulation. I wrote “Tome 1 pastilla en la noche” on a sticker and stuck it to the bottle to avoid any “once” pitfalls. I felt that this was part of my responsibility as a prescriber of medications.

Three months later, Mr. P ended up in the hospital. He had begun to feel lightheaded a week before, and then he fell. His heart rate in the emergency room was dangerously low. After an extensive evaluation and ultimately a visit to his home by a nurse, we discovered that he had resumed taking his blood pressure medication twice a day, despite being given the new once-a-day formulation. He in effect had doubled the dosage I had prescribed.

The directions I wrote out may have worked, but then he received his first refill and a new pill bottle. Although many pharmacies in California (including some but not all large chains) print non-English directions on pill bottles, his did not.

The Legislature is considering a bill — SB 204 — that would help; it’s moved to the Assembly after passage by the state Senate. If it becomes law, pharmacies will be required to print standard medication instructions translated into languages other than English on pill bottles. The instructions are already available in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Russian on the Board of Pharmacy’s website. With this law, they would be printed on the bottles themselves. (New York has a similar law.)

I, with my power to prescribe, almost killed my patient. Pharmacies, with their power to dispense and advise, could have helped keep him out of the hospital. The Legislature should make this procedure the law.

David Margolius is an internal medicine physician. He testified before the California Senate Committee of Business and Professions in April in support of SB 204.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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  • fatherhash

    in that case, why stop at 5 or 6 languages? why not make them available/required for all 7000 or so languages?…..we care about those patients’ safety too, right?

    • Suzi Q 38

      The computer can already translate up to approximately 100 or so languages.
      Just log onto Google and type in “Language tools”
      You have a bad attitude.
      These people are here and their money is “green.”
      It doesn’t matter what color they are and what languages they speak.
      It takes years to learn another language, much less to read and write a new language.
      A patient may fall ill a lot sooner than the years it takes to completely learn to read in English.

      The Latin languages are not bad to make the transition; but the Asian languages are completely different. Ditto for the Arabic languages. Their characters represent separate words. For us, a letter is only part of a word and has a phonetic sound assigned to it.

      • fatherhash

        yikes, don’t know why you think i have a bad attitude for simply showing how there are many patients with many languages that would likely not be covered under this government mandate. keep in mind, this author seems to be promoting a law forcing this upon the pharmacies….i was merely showing that sometimes ideal is not practical.

        if people/patients want to use language tools to translate their prescriptions, more power to them. also, not exactly sure on what you’re implying/teaching by stating that “these people” are here that it doesn’t matter what color they are….i never said anything about color.

        • Suzi Q 38

          You are right. I am sorry.
          I am very defensive about people here that speak the various languages. I see them everyday, and I know first hand the struggles they face to live in a country that demands that they not only speak English, but read and write it NOW.
          I still maintain that the label translating can be done, it just doesn’t need to be mandated.

          Again, my apologies.

          • Jewel Markess

            I think you’ll find that those of us who are immigrants ourselves and whose first language aren’t English are a lot less willing to accommodate those immigrants who aren’t willing to learn the language as we did.

            I struggled too, so did my parents, but we knew when we came to the US that they speak English here, and we didn’t expect anybody to translate for us. We were grateful that we were able to come to the US, but adopting to the life here was our responsibility. Hey, my middle aged parents figured out not to carry balance on the credit cards a lot faster than most Americans who prefer to blame banks… I didn’t expect my university professors to treat me any differently than native English speakers and allow for my difficulties in English, and my parents or for that matter any of other fellow immigrants didn’t expect Americans to learn to speak Russian.

            The label translating should be done by the patient. It’s not difficult. Even before internet, there was this wonderful invention called “dictionary”.

          • Suzi Q 38

            The label translating should be done by the patient. It’s not difficult. Even before internet, there was this wonderful invention called “dictionary”.

            Yes, that is a great invention. Look how many of us have one.
            Most of us use the computer.
            English learners need to use a dictionary, and many of them do.

            There are others that are barely literate or illiterate. they can barely read in their own language, let alone English.

            They do not have as much of a problem speaking English, but reading and comprehending medical English language may be difficult.

          • Disqus_37216b4O

            “reading and comprehending medical English language may be difficult”

            Take Once Daily is not complicated medical language.

            Anyone having trouble comprehending that without government intervention probably needs a full-time caregiver.

          • Suzi Q 38

            Yah, right.

          • Suzi Q 38

            “I think you’ll find that those of us who are immigrants ourselves and whose first language aren’t English are a lot less willing to accommodate those immigrants who aren’t willing to learn the language as we did.”

            Yes, I understand what you are saying.
            Just consider that not all immigrants have had the same educational opportunities.

            Some are university educated, some high school, middle school or elementary school.
            Some have never gone to school.

            You think that you are “all that.” Looking down on the others. I agree that there are some that choose not to speak English.
            Their loss. There are others that want to learn English, are working on it, but can not read and write English yet.

            Did you call your parents “idiots” when they did not understand the language? Can they read and write in English now?

          • Jewel Markess

            No, I didn’t call my parents idiots, and I don’t call anybody who doesn’t speak a language well an idiot, but not being able to guess that “take once daily” sentence is in English and assume that a word in the middle is in Spanish is certainly not a sign of intelligence. My parents were able to figure out if a sentence starts with an English word than it’s likely in English. My late mother was able to learn to communicate with English. My father is still struggling with spoken language, but he can read. But they could certainly figure out “Take once daily”.

            If someone is illiterate, translating in any language wouldn’t help.

          • Suzi Q 38

            Idiot is not a good word to describe a person that is struggling with the English language, or any language, for that matter. Poor manners.
            I guess intelligence does not mandate kindness in a person.
            Good thing you never called your parents idiots.

            The thing you had going for you was your youth.
            Languages are easier to learn the younger you are when you begin to learn the second or third language.

            Desire is another factor. Some are content to live in their former cultural “world,” while others want to assimilate as soon as possible and are very social.

          • Disqus_37216b4O

            I agree completely, Jewel. My grandparents were Greek immigrants and somehow they managed without government intervention.

          • Suzi Q 38

            We don’t need government intervention.
            We need translation in the form of “I will do this service for your because I (Costco,
            Walgreens, or Rite Aid) want fill all of your prescriptions.” In other words, “We welcome your business and will do extra to get it.”

          • usvietnamvet

            You know they don’t need defending. That assumes they are unable to defend themselves. I understand why you are so defensive but it’s really not necessary. I bet your students would tell you that too! ;-)

          • Suzi Q 38

            Good point.

      • Disqus_37216b4O

        There’s something wrong with you. Nobody mentioned anything about “color”. Most native Russian speakers are whiter than me, an olive-skinned American of Greek heritage.

        And anyway. How on earth did this “great American melting pot” of so many different nationalities ever manage not to genocide its newcomers before government regulations about foreign language labels on prescription bottles? Were previous generations of immigrants just smarter and more resourceful than the current crop? Are we importing the world’s dullards?

        • Suzi Q 38

          There’s something wrong with you. Nobody mentioned anything about “color”. Most native Russian speakers are whiter than me, an olive-skinned American of Greek heritage.

          You’re right, no one did. If you look around, though, especially here in California, there are people from all over the world so you are no exception. My husband’s family is from Italy. Most people assume he is anglo.

  • PoliticallyIncorrectMD

    What happened to personal responsibility? We have several family members / friends whose English is less then perfect. Those of us whose English is better always make time to help with their doctors’ appointments and medications directions. This is NOT the government’s responsibility. Health care is expensive enough and complicated enough by plenty of useless mandates to add one more costly bureaucratic initiative to the list.

    • fatherhash

      personal responsibility? why would we need that?…..isn’t that what the government is for?

    • Suzi Q 38

      The computer can do it for them. It may not have to be mandated. all a pharmacy needs to do is have an astute marketing department that realizes that there is money to be made by making this available. If it is NOT a government mandate (which is fine by me), and Walgreens is the first to offer this service for free, you can bet a lot of non-English speaking customers will go there to fill their prescriptions. They will vote with their “feet” and their wallets.

      Similar to the fact that of course, all doctors speak English.
      An added plus is that there are many that speak a variety of languages. Certain ethnic patients feel more comfortable speaking their first language when talking about complicated health matters.

      No government mandate is necessary.

      • fatherhash

        i agree. no government mandate is necessary if, like you said, this is not burdensome and will be a great marketing thing for pharmacies. but doesn’t seem like the author or the people pushing SB 204 agree.

    • Suzi Q 38

      That is a good idea, but not everyone has other family members to translate.

      • usvietnamvet

        They usually have someone who can translate. Even in small towns someone can usually be found and with the computer it’s so much easier.

        • Suzi Q 38

          You are right about that, but the pharmacy that provides this service will get even more business.

          Maybe they do not want friends and neighbors to know that are on opiods for back pain or antidepressants, for example.

  • ninguem

    The labels have to be in a foreign language so the pharmacists can read them.

    • Suzi Q 38

      Very funny, I like that comment. It is only marginally racist.
      Partially true, but all pharmacists speak English.

  • Suzi Q 38

    I agree. We have the technology and it should not be that hard.

    • Disqus_37216b4O

      Good. Then you’re offering to foot the bill for all pharmacies to comply with this latest government mandate?

  • Suzi Q 38

    Thank you for your story.

    I am an English as a second language (ESL) instructor.
    This is why my students at times prefer doctors that speak their various languages. I always tell them the language is secondary. If you need a good doctor, I do not care if his/her color is “purple,” if he/she is the best doctor for you. You can always get someone to help translate for you.
    I forgot about the prescription bottles.

    Since 50% of my class speak Spanish, 40% speak Mandarin and Cantonese, and 10% speak various languages from Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, this can get rather complicated.

    Yes, translations would be good for now. There must be an app to translate for it. The problem is that the computer’s translating ability is limited. It is not always accurate. It should be good enough, though for simple dosage instructions and precautions.

    • Jewel Markess

      What about personal responsibility? Why shouldn’t the patients consider it their responsibility to translate?

      • Suzi Q 38

        Sure. It is their responsibility as it is.

        Like the author has pointed out, there have been some language misunderstandings with respect to dosage and dosage frequency.

        Maybe patients may overdose due to a language misunderstanding.

        You can say the same with the DMV or tax forms.
        Why aren’t they in English only?
        Who decided to sprint some in Spanish?
        How DARE they??

        With the human body, taking a drug once a day vs 11 times a day may not be what the good doctor intended (folk tale or not).

        This will be a good teaching opportunity for my students.

        I will tell this very story, then teach them how to use Google Language Tools to decipher the English label into their various languages.

        I will also point out the importance of having an English speaking relative make sure the Goggle translation is correct, as errors with prescriptions can be deadly.

        I do not believe this should be government mandated.

        I think that this service (translating the labels) can be good marketing tools to bring in new customers.

        I remember being very young, and working at the main gate at Disneyland in the mid-70′s. I remember my friends got very annoyed that people wanted to conduct business in Spanish, their primary language.

        At Disneyland, I sold a few tickets to Spanish speakers, and soon I had a huge line. My co-worker in the same booth was annoyed. She told me: “The least they could do is speak OUR language.” She told me not to speak Spanish at all, that “THEY should speak English.”
        At the time, I was one of the few employees at the main gate that spoke Spanish.

        My employer was pleased, as I sold the most tickets everyday. Part of the reason was that many Spanish speakers came to my booth and bought any ticket booklet that I wanted to sell them.

        I can see the translating of labels being a great service to certain competitive drug stores.

        What a great idea.

  • Noni

    Oh good, more bureaucracy in health care! I was worried we didn’t have enough government involvement…

    • http://barefootmeds.wordpress.com/ Barefootmeds

      Can I assume that you are proficient in several languages, then?

      • Guest

        My family moved here from Iran when I was 16. I speak Farsi, French and English. But I don’t understand why you demand that someone be “proficient in several languages” before they disagree with this latest government edict.

        This is America, we speak English here. If we don’t read English well enough to understand a simple pill bottle, we ask someone who does. This is not something to make government regulations over.

      • Jewel Markess

        What does this have to do with the cost of tea in China?

        Seriously, I am not Guest, but I am also an immigrant to the US and I agree with him. You may want to pay for pharmacies to hire translators – don’t you think they’ll push the cost to you? – but I don’t.

        I came to the US from Russia, and no, I didn’t expect any signs or labels to be provided for me in Russian. My parents were 43 and 48 and they didn’t speak any English, but they learned what they could, and in the meantime they’d ask me to translate – being 19 I learned English a lot quicker – or someone else, or just check the dictionary. Translating this simple phrase isn’t difficult, and only a complete idiot would think that “once” is in Spanish in a phrase where two other words are in English. Not to mention that numerals is the most useful thing to learn in any language, even a tourist would learn it.

        For the record – I also speak Italian, Spanish, some German, and tourist-y French. When I was in France and needed to buy something at a pharmacy, I didn’t expect them to speak English or translate anything for me.

        • Suzi Q 38

          Bravo for you. Let’s give you a medal.

          • Suzi Q 38

            When I was in Barcelona, I did not speak Catalan, I spoke touristy-Spanish. When I was in Italy, I spoke Spanish. When I was in France, I spoke English. Ditto in Croatia. When I was in Shanghai, I spoke Spanish to a German couple that I met. I was lost.

            I can only imagine what people have to go through to be in the United States.

          • Disqus_37216b4O

            “If I lived in Syria, I would go to the pharmacy that would print my prescription label in English”

            Good luck with that, darling. And good luck with lobbying the Syrian government to force all pharmacies to label all prescriptions in English, just in case they get an American tourist who doesn’t know how to use a dictionary or google translate.

          • Suzi Q 38

            That’s what I mean.
            It is not likely, but it would be such a great service that I would pay for it.

            And if I paid a Syrian pharmacist to do so, he just might, in order to make the money or to have me as a loyal customer.

            Anything is possible. You are assuming that all Syrians would scoff at the idea. Maybe not.
            The Syrians that I know would have tried to help, actually.

            Retarded? Now I know what kind of person you are, LOL.
            (Why do I feel like a child, verbally sparring with a bully in the school yard??? Ahhh brings back memories.)

          • usvietnamvet

            Have you traveled much? I have and most places you can find someone to translate for you if you don’t speak the language. As a last resort you can go to the American embassy and someone will translate for you. I’ve lived in many countries and have traveled around the world 1 1/2 times. I speak a smattering of many languages and have met many wonderful helpful people in my travels.

            If you don’t want to “spar” then withdraw.

          • Suzi Q 38

            I am impressed that you have traveled around the world 1 1/2 times.
            I would rather have an understanding pharmacist translate my prescription for me rather than drive into the city to get to an employee at the American embassy. Wow, now, that’s a good idea, LOL.

            Spar? I will spar or withdraw when I decide to do so. Such threats.

          • Jewel Markess

            My parents didn’t learn English as children, then had German. I had English, but foreign languages were taught notoriously badly in the Soviet Union since our teachers and their teacher have never heard any native speakers. Tape recorders were still a novelty in the Soviet Union and records or tapes of native speakers weren’t available. But at any rate, I might’ve known some English by my middle aged parents didn’t. And as it was said – nobody cares if pharmacies want to do it on their own, but most of us don’t want to have a government mandate.

          • Suzi Q 38

            That explains part of the fact that you learned faster than your parents.
            I guessed correctly. You had English as a child, and you went to school. How many years did you study English before you moved to the U.S.?
            5? 7? 10 years or more?
            If so, you had better speak faster than your parents or other immigrants that had never gone to school or taken English at all prior to their move here.
            My guess is that you had quite a few years of exposure to English. Your parents not only didn’t learn English in school, but they made sure you did. Were they working once they got to the U.S.?
            Who paid for your college education? Did you get scholarships, student loans, or did your parents pay? Who paid for your schools in the Soviet Union?

        • Suzi Q 38

          “Translating this simple phrase isn’t difficult, and only a complete idiot would think that “once” is in Spanish in a phrase where two other words are in English.”

          Jewel Markess,
          This may have been easy with your self-proclaimed brilliance.
          For others, it is an understandable error, especially if they were illiterate in their own country. Not everyone has parents that paid for them to go to school. Some had to work and never went to school.

          • Disqus_37216b4O

            Great, now pharmacies have to make allowances for the fact that some patients are illiterate? What should the government do, mandate that pharmacists send someone to each patient’s home two or three times a day to help them take their tablet?

            By the time people like you get done with things, a $4 bottle of pills is going to cost $300.

            It is not always possible, let alone desirable, to gear everything in society to the lowest common denominator.

          • Suzi Q 38

            You may not be an English learner, but you are a “slow learner.”

            I will repeat. No government mandate, just a marketing opportunity for many businesses that fill prescriptions.

            “It is not always possible, let alone desirable, to gear everything in society to the lowest common denominator.”

            You are right about that, but the English learners and others could use help in this area. Why not provide a service voluntarily? I think that I am going to write to these corporations about my idea. One or two may just “go for it.”

            I am not sure how old you are, but I am old enough to remember when an ethnic grocery store was not available or in existence in the suburbs. No one would support it, and the idea of it would be met with hostility.

            Things are different now, thankfully.
            There is no government mandate to have an ethnic store from every country in the world.
            People are supporting these stores with their money.

            Ditto for doctors and other professionals.
            If I want a lawyer that speaks Mandarin and English, that is my preference. I will go to that lawyer and pay my retainer, rather than hire the one that speaks only English. Law can get fairly complicated.

          • Noni

            Suzi, the article discusses how the author is pushing for a bill that would require pharmacies to print labels on meds in other languages. This is what most of us have a problem with – the government enforcement. If a pharmacy wants to do this of its own accord to gain/retain customers, great!

            But as we are a country with ONE national language requiring pharmacies to do this by law is inappropriate and heavy handed.

          • Suzi Q 38

            I agree. I still think it is a great service to provide voluntarily. I realize now that Walgreens already provides this service.

          • usvietnamvet

            But it doesn’t prevent people and the government from requiring it. Many seem to forget that English is the national language here in the USA and most immigrants are not only happy to learn it but proud. It’s only with Hispanics that the government/businesses seem to have a problem. I am Hispanic and believe they think we’re either too lazy or too stupid to learn English. Sadly we may believe English is the national language but our government hasn’t said it is.

          • usvietnamvet

            In many neighborhoods where there is a large population of immigrants, those who speak English well often help those who don’t by translating articles, medicine directions, etc.

          • Jewel Markess

            Pay for them to go to school???? HELLO? I grew up in the SOVIET UNION! I came to the US with nothing as a refugee. As to other languages – I learned them on my own and as an adult.

          • Suzi Q 38

            No, you learned English initially in school as a child in the Soviet Union. If you went to school in The Soviet Union, who paid for it? Every country is different.
            You came over here as a refugee like most refugees…with very little. Most of my students bring all that they own in two suitcases. Others are fairly wealthy in their own countries. It all depends.

        • usvietnamvet

          Your family is actually typical of most legal immigrants. My dad grew up in PA where there were a lot of Polish immigrants. Most parents spoke a bit of English and learned more as time passed but the kids learned English quickly in spite of not having special classes. How times have changed.

  • Gagan Saini

    Yes i think Prescription labels must come in languages other than English. It will be better for all.

    • Suzi Q 38

      Like I said, I think it is a great idea to do voluntarily.
      Patients that want the labels in their language will support the pharmacy that provides that service. They will vote with their “feet.”

      • Disqus_37216b4O

        “How about an English only club?”

        Right. Because if you don’t demand the government force pharmacies to print labels in all 7,000 or so languages, you’re a white supremacist racist.

        Good grief. Yes, let pharmacies who want to do this, do this voluntarily. That’s not what this article is about. This author is crowing that he’s succeeded in getting the government to mandate this.

        You seem to have a chip on your shoulder, seeing “racist” straw men where no such animals exist.

        • usvietnamvet

          It must be voluntary and people will vote with their feet if it’s a needed service.

  • http://barefootmeds.wordpress.com/ Barefootmeds

    I live in a country with eleven official languages – the difference being that most of our languages aren’t as well documented and easily translated as Spanish. Giving instructions in a patient’s home language would be a great improvement in healthcare all over the world.

    • Suzi Q 38

      Where do you live?

      • http://barefootmeds.wordpress.com/ Barefootmeds

        South Africa

        • Suzi Q 38

          I agree with you.

        • Suzi Q 38

          I have had so few students from your continent.
          Why is that? I have never had anyone from South Africa. Isn’t English spoken in all of South Africa?

          I think I had a really nice student from Ethiopia.
          She used to make me dinners made with marinated chicken breast and rice with vegetables.
          She was very warm, polite, and kind.

          • http://barefootmeds.wordpress.com/ Barefootmeds

            English is relatively widely spoken in South Africa. It is only the fourth-most common home language though, but is one of two popular languages for business and academia.

            I deal with a lot of patients who have little to no grasp of English. I think the reason you probably haven’t taught any of them is because with our weak economy, people without a high school education rarely make it outside our borders. People WITH HS education are usually proficient in English (not to say that the bi-tri-quatro-lingual person without it does not exist though). I realise that sounds classist but it’s not really: it’s just unfortunately the way our recent history has affected many population groups.

        • Guest

          Millions upon millions of South Africans cannot read in _any_ language.

  • kestrel

    Walgreens pharmacies have the option to print labels in Spanish for a person, -if- standard directions and the proper abbreviations for them are entered. But it’s not often used.

    • Suzi Q 38

      THANK YOU!!!!
      See, Walgreens has already figured out a little known sales opportunity.
      I will definitely spread the word….after calling Walgreens and others to make sure this service is available in our area.

  • ninguem

    The stereotype of the “Ugly American” that travels to another country and expects everyone to speak English.

    Why does this only work one way?

    • Suzi Q 38

      Maybe that is why, when I went to China, the tour guide said:

      “It is my “dream” to come to the United States and to live there.”

      A country where you are not only free to do and say as you wish, but anything is possible.

      I actually loved Barcelona and Italy. I was able to practice a little Spanish. I don’t expect everyone to speak English, but if they do, I am appreciative.

    • usvietnamvet

      Businesses are the ones who pushed this press 1 mentality. As a Hispanic I’m insulted by it. I am the child and grandchild of LEGAL immigrants and believe if you want to live here you should learn the language. When I lived in Germany I learned German. My mother was a war bride and spoke 6 languages including English. She was shocked to see that so few Americans learn other languages and that we allow people to live here without requiring that they learn English.

  • usvietnamvet

    It would be nice if medications could also have LARGER print on them. Although I don’t like the press 1 mentality of many businesses (I always wonder if they believe we Hispanics are too stupid or just too lazy to learn English but other nationalities do learn it ) I can see a reason to have medication directions in other languages. But because it makes sense it will probably never happen. I’d also like to see where medications are made. I don’t eat or buy Chinese made products because I don’t trust their track record on safety and worry about the medications I take because I have no idea where they are made. This is especially worrisome since I have problems with some generics.

    • EmilyAnon

      Re: ” I don’t eat or buy Chinese made products because I don’t trust their track record on safety…”

      Unfortunately, the country of origin stamped on the product doesn’t always reflect the origin of the ingredients. Remember the dog food scandal last year where animals were dying right and left from dog food “made in Canada”. Only after investigation to discover that one of the ingredients (a filler made in China) was actually ground up plastic. I have read that some drug ingredients in “American” medicine and supplements come from China where there is no mandatory quality control. With no oversight in the business world there is a temptation to cheat.

      • usvietnamvet

        I agree!

        That’s why we’re pushing for better labeling. Labeling would include origin of ingredients (if animal products it would include where the animal was raised, slaughtered, processed & packaged as well as if the animal was given antibiotics and such) ,. I want to know if things are GMO.

        I was quite shocked to find out that one company that advertising how their tomatoes are processed with water/steam instead of chemicals uses GMO items in processing.

        Most American want such labeling and the only way to force it is to make our votes count more then the money our legislators get for selling their votes/influence…oh I mean getting campaign contributions.

        We can do this by getting more people to vote and to vote outside of the 2 “main” parties. Demand campaign reform. I vote in EVERY election and I inform myself before I vote. To bad only 30% of us vote…and women should vote because our grandmothers and great grandmothers went through hell to get us the right to vote. There is NO excuse for not voting.

  • http://warmsocks.wordpress.com/ WarmSocks

    It’s good that you recognize the problems that LEP patients might face. It’s good for doctors to recognize that it can affect their medication compliance. Kudos to you for trying to help. If you, personally, wish to volunteer to translate your patients’ medication instructions, that’s your choice.

    You don’t make a case, however, for greater government regulation. It is ludicrous to think that the government should make pharmacies translate into any foreign language. If I go to Germany, I don’t expect the pharmacies there to translate my prescription instructions to English. Likewise if I visit Ukraine, Japan, or anywhere else. Pharmacies give instructions in their countries’ native language. In the United States, the native language is English.