Assessing the Impact of Language Access Regulations on the Provision of Pharmacy Services

Linda Weiss, Maya Scherer, Tongtan Chantarat, Theo Oshiro, Patrick Padgen, Jose Pagan, Peri Rosenfeld, H. Shonna Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Approximately 25 million people in the United States are limited English proficient (LEP). Appropriate language services can improve care for LEP individuals, and health care facilities receiving federal funds are required to provide such services. Recognizing the risk of inadequate comprehension of prescription medication instructions, between 2008 and 2012, New York City and State passed a series of regulations that require chain pharmacies to provide translated prescription labels and other language services to LEP patients. We surveyed pharmacists before (2006) and after (2015) implementation of the regulations to assess their impact in chain pharmacies. Our findings demonstrate a significant improvement in capacity of chains to assist LEP patients. A higher proportion of chain pharmacies surveyed in 2015 reported printing translated labels, access and use of telephone interpreter services, multilingual signage, and documentation of language needs in patient records. These findings illustrate the potential impact of policy changes on institutional practices that impact large and vulnerable portions of the population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)644-651
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to express our appreciation to the pharmacists who participated in our surveys. We would also like to thank our colleagues Becca Telzak and Foram Jasani for their assistance with the study, and our advisory board members, who provided invaluable guidance throughout. Finally, we are grateful for support from the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck (PCLB) Foundation, and Emily Prince, our program officer there, and from the Altman Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s).


  • Health policy
  • Immigrants
  • Language access services
  • Medication adherence
  • Pharmacies
  • Prescription medications


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