EMEA, the European Medicines Agency, has recently introduced legislation which requires labelling in Braille on all secondary labelling on pharmaceutical products. This new labelling requirement will hopefully show our commitment to meeting the needs of visually impaired people.
Over 150 million people continue to use Braille around the world today for a multitude of reasons. Within the UK alone we have some 2 million people affected by some level of visual impairment, so it’s clear as to why the EMEA has introduced this new legislation.
On medicine packaging alone, 96% of 165 adults surveyed said that they made use of Braille labelling incorporated into medicine packaging. In the last two years, the participants agreed that they have seen an increase in the amount of Braille labelling used on such products with a noticeable increase in the production quality.
However, such labelling is still very limited, with only the product’s name and strength being printed on the secondary label. This means that the consumer is still unable to know about the medicines ingredients, side effects and much more. But due to the labelling space this unfortunately means that the amount of information they are able to print in Braille is limited.
Many of the visually impaired adults questioned within the survey voluntarily commented on how many pharmacists cover up the Braille with other labelling, suggesting that this is a common occurrence by many and perhaps more guidelines are still needed.
For decades, the number of Braille users has been on the decline. While there are many reasons for the decline of Braille, technology that converts text to speech has been identified as a major factor. In a world where technology is rapidly increasing, it is thought that Braille is becoming a less relevant tool for visually impaired and blind individuals.
Amongst other products, Braille users also identified where such labelling can also be found. Bleach was the one product most commonly mentioned amongst others such as: cleaning products, wine bottles, ready meals, boxed cakes and shower products. With the Co-op Supermarket being noted as having Braille labels incorporated into their own brands.
The importance of Braille labels is significant and will attract a visually impaired consumer to purchase a product. And with such a large number affected by the condition worldwide it makes great business sense to incorporate Braille labelling onto all consumer products.