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Oregon Considering Issuing Prescriptions In Multiple Languages

<p>Prescriptions could come with the instructions in both English and a patient's preferred language, under a proposed new Oregon law.</p>

Kristian Foden-Vencil

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Prescriptions could come with the instructions in both English and a patient's preferred language, under a proposed new Oregon law.

The Oregon Legislature is considering issuing medical prescriptions in languages other than English.

The idea, which is in its early stages, would require pharmacies to issue prescriptions in English and in a patient’s preferred language.

The chair of the Oregon House Health Care Committee, Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, said it’ll probably involve a computer program to translate English into any one of a dozen languages, and then print a label. “I’m not sure how widely distributed those computer programs are. And I’m also not sure how good they are," he said. 

"So I mean this is all very exploratory.”

The cost and complexity of the idea could lead to opposition.

The U.S. Census says more than half-a-million Oregonians speak a language other than English at home.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.