Blind World Magazine

United Kingdom.
New accessible Patient Information Leaflets for the visually impaired.

November 10, 2005.
E-Health Insider (UK).

A new service, X-PIL, is launched this week offering patient information leaflets (PILs) in Braille and other formats, such as large print and CD-ROM, that enable visually impaired people to access information about their treatment.

The new service helps pharmaceutical companies comply with new regulations brought in at the end of October which require accessible information to be made available on request for newly-launched products. Over the next five years the requirement will be applied to all 25,000 PILS in the UK.

X-PIL is being provided by the Royal National Institute of the Blind, the National Library for the Blind and Datapharm Communications, a not-for-profit company whose objective is to improve public health through the provision of better health information.

Steve Mott of Datapharm explained to EHI Primary Care: "Within five years all PILs must be brought up to speed. What we are trying to decide is how we do that in a controlled way."

The task is huge with the average PIL translating into a 16 page Braille document costing an average of 1 per page. Mott said such a service would be offered 'on request', but by working with the major organisations for the blind, he was confident the scheme would reach the people who needed it. He said pharmacists would be able to order the X-PILS as an add-on service for visually impaired customers.

In addition, Mott explained that some formats such as audio and large print could be made available via the web.

The service will be expanded next year to enable companies to offer PILs for their total portfolio of products in the required formats and will include a dedicated website where PILs can be downloaded as normal or large print or as audio.

Patients will also be able to order a hard copy in their preferred format of either Braille Large Print or audio CD ROM using the website or a freephone telephone service.

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