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California State Board of Pharmacy

Patients Can Now Request Translations on the Directions for Use on Certain Prescription Labels

On February 10, 2016, the board released the press release announcing the new 2016 requirement for prescription labels.  The press release was translated into Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese. The press release was sent to over 800 media outlets including:

February 10, 2016
CONTACT: Debbie Damoth
(916) 574-7935

Translations on Prescription Drug Labels Patients Can Now Request Translations on the Directions for Use on Certain Prescriptions Labels

Being able to read a prescription label is an essential element of being able to understand how to take medication appropriately.

In January 2016 new California requirements for prescription labels took effect that establish a mechanism by which patients with limited English skills may often obtain translated directions on their prescription container labels or as a supplement to the label.

This law was sponsored by the California Board of Pharmacy and authored by Assembly Member Ting as AB 1073.

The law recognizes that many dispensers already provide translations on prescription containers and the enacted legislation allows this practice to continue.   This law creates another opportunity for consumers to receive translations.  Consumers interested in receiving such translations should request this service from their pharmacy.

In some cases, a translation may not be available for the pharmacy to provide.  In such cases, the board strongly encourages consumers to use the free interpreter services available at the pharmacy to ensure they understand how to safely take medications.

Additional information about this new law as well as other changes to pharmacy law can be found on the board’s website via the following link -


The California Board of Pharmacy protects and promotes the health and safety of California by pursuing the highest quality of pharmacist care and the appropriate use of pharmaceuticals through education, communication, licensing, legislation, regulation and enforcement.