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NYC: Mayor Signs Language Access in Pharmacies Act

Thursday, September 03, 2009

This morning, I attended the bill signing where Mayor Bloomberg signed the Language Access in Pharmacies Act, a bill I introduced in 2008.

The Language Access in Pharmacies Act requires New York City chain pharmacies to translate medical instructions into the seven languages most commonly spoken by residents who have limited English proficiency.

For example, as one constituent pointed out to me, by confusing the English word “once” with the Spanish word for eleven – spelled exactly the same – a non-English speaker could easily overdose on their medication.

This will allow the nearly 2 million residents and citizens who speak foreign languages to make safer medical decisions.

Today, with the Mayor’s signature, New York City became the first locality in the United States to require translation services in pharmacies.

This new law sends a message to the rest of the nation – a message that New York embraces the great demographic change occurring in our City and throughout the country. I hope that other localities will follow this example.

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