Editorials

Medicines information—leaving blind people behind?

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7103.268 (Published 02 August 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:268

Manufacturers should provide information in large print, braille, or audiotape

  1. D K Raynor, Heada,
  2. N Yerassimou, Campaign officerb
  1. a Division of Academic Pharmacy Practice, School of Healthcare Studies, University of Leeds, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds LS2 9NS
  2. b Royal National Institute for the Blind, London W1N 6AA

    All new medicines in Britain must now come with a comprehensive manufacturer's leaflet inside the pack. Within two years all existing medicines will also include such a leaflet.1 This is the most important change for over a decade in the provision of information to patients. However, the claimed benefits from these leaflets will not be available to the 1.7 million people in Britain with impaired vision.2 Most visually impaired people are elderly,2 a group that is prescribed nearly half of all prescription drugs.3 Most live alone and have to rely on friends, families, or neighbours to read information for them. When this is medical information, the preference for privacy and confidentiality is obvious.

    If the move towards patient empowerment is to succeed, patients need information to guide their choices.4 The Royal National Institute for the Blind's “See it Right” campaign makes the point that visually impaired people have a right to equal access to information, including medical information.5 We live in an …

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