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Know Your Rights
Source: NY1
Subject: Language Access
Type: Media Coverage

Immigrant Advocates Sue Pharmacies Without Translations

Immigrant advocates announced action against local pharmacies they say discriminate against non-English speaking New Yorkers Wednesday.

The group Make The Road New York filed a formal complaint with the Attorney General’s Office against 16 pharmacies last year, and now that number has doubled.

The suit claims the stores fail to provide written or verbal translations for prescriptions. The activists say the lack of translation services puts the patients’ health at risk.

"They can’t communicate with the pharmacist. They’re leaving without knowing how to take their medications," said Theo Oshiro of Make The Road. "They’re really risking their lives by taking their medications really without knowing anything about them."

"We’re there to help the patient. It’s not a good thing to have a patient — not knowing what they are taking," said pharmacist Leonard Colluro.

Some chain pharmacies said they already provide their customers with translation services.

The City Public Advocates Office says it will introduce legislation to make those services mandatory.

Make the Road claimed a representative from the Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office agreed to meet with the groups on Wednesday but never showed up.

Cuomo’s office said it is continuing to investigate the matter.