Five major pharmacy chains with 700 stores in New York state have agreed to print drug instructions in five languages other than English and to expand this option to other states their outlets do business in, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, Duane Reade and A&P have agreed with New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to also provide oral assistance in more than 150 languages. The written drug instructions will be translated into Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Russian and French. Some other pharmacies have already agreed to Polish translations, but the big five have yet to sign on, the AP reported.
Cuomo had been investigating charges from immigrant groups that some pharmacies failed to advise non-English speaking customers in their own language about doses and side effects of their medications. Under law, New York pharmacists must personally provide information about prescription drugs to all patients, orally and in writing, and are prohibited from discriminating against non-English speakers, the AP said.
Cuomo reached similar agreements last year with Rite Aid and CVS pharmacies, the AP reported. More than one million New Yorkers do not speak English "well or at all," according to Census data cited by the wire service.