State board raises Corbett’s ire over prescription labelling By Steven Tavares
When it comes to the font size attached to a bottle of pills, the difference between life and death could be less than a millimeter. A bill amended by state Sen. Ellen Corbett Monday hopes to enact a standard for prescription labeling featuring a 12-point font and accessibility to directions in languages other than English.

The additions to SB 1390 were triggered by state Board of Pharmacy’s recent decision to back a proposal to keep the type size of prescription labels at 10 along with what some see as obstruction by the governing body over the past few months.

In February, the board appeared headed towards approval of increasing the font size standard, which many, including Corbett say save lives by avoiding medication errors. The board quickly switched course after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed a CVS/Pharmacy executive to the board a day before its decision. The proposal, opposed by large pharmacy retailers, was effectively blocked by the governor’s newest appointee.

The little-known Board of Pharmacy’s recent decision has apparently raised the ire of Corbett. A rally in support of Corbett’s bill is planned Wednesday morning at Hayward City Hall, 10 a.m.

“The Board had an opportunity to set a national standard for consumer protection. They demonstrated that they are willing to put the pharmaceutical companies’ interests ahead of consumers,” Corbett said Monday in a press release. “They may not have heard the public, but I have, and that is why I am introducing this legislation.”

Opponents of changes to prescription drug labelling say the changes will cost retailers financially due to the possibility of larger bottles and language translation programs. Pharmacists also doubt they can approve prescriptions written in languages they do not understand.