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New pharmacy option for blind and visually impaired

Kaiser Permanente now offers braille prescription bottles for members across Northern California in addition to already available talking pill bottles.

Responding to the preferences of blind and visually impaired members in Northern California, Kaiser Permanente recently added braille as an option for prescription pill bottles and the accompanying drug information.

The braille option, in which members read raised bumps with their fingertips, is available for prescriptions by mail and at Kaiser Permanente pharmacies in Santa Rosa, Roseville, San Rafael, San Jose, and Oakland, said Hector Villanueva, Kaiser Permanente regional pharmacy project manager for Northern California.

“If a member wants to pick up a prescription at a pharmacy and they are not near one of those 5 locations, we can deliver it to them the next day,” said Villanueva, who added that the geographic availability is based on current demand for the braille option.

The braille option follows a rollout of the popular talking pill bottle option for blind and visually impaired members, called Script Talk, made available about 5 years ago. Those prescription bottles come with a base station that a member uses to hear all the information about the drug, dosage, and frequency.

“Members who request braille prescriptions will receive a pill bottle with braille, writing for the sighted, and the talking pill bottle all in one,” said Villanueva. “That way if a blind or visually impaired member has a caregiver who is sighted, that person can read or listen to the information on the bottle.”

Tony Angulo, area pharmacy director for Kaiser Permanente in Roseville, said Kaiser Permanente wants to offer blind and visually impaired members as many options as possible for prescription information.

“Kaiser Permanente has a very strong desire to meet the needs of all of our members, and in that effort, we go the extra mile,” said Angulo. “Braille is a natural evolution of meeting the needs of our visually impaired patients to get clear and concise medication instructions.”

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