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Know Your Rights
Source: Brooklyn News 12
Subject: Language Access
Type: Media Coverage

Customers Lost Without Translation

Advocacy groups have filed a discrimination complaint against 16 city pharmacies for not providing interpretation services to non-English speaking customers, as required by law.

Four of the pharmacies mentioned in the complaint filed with the attorney general, are in Brooklyn. They include Duane Reade on Broadway, CVS on 18th Avenue and the Kraupner and Rite Aid on Knickerbocker Avenue.

Advocates say the lack of adequate translation services is dangerous. "[Non-English speakers] basically go and leave with their medicines without knowing how to use them because the labels are not translated into a language they can understand," said Theo Oshiro of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

Critics say the smaller mom-and-pop pharmacies do a good job of following the law and accommodating non-English speakers, but the big chain pharmacies do not.

A Duane Reade spokesperson said the company is constantly looking for ways to expand its services, while CVS said stores have telephonic interpretation services for non-English speakers or those who are not proficient in English. Rite Aid, meanwhile, said it has bilingual pharmacists and technicians wherever possible in its pharmacies.

Kraupner says it prides itself on helping non-English speaking customers and has a multilingual staff.