Fairless Hills Creator of Accessible Pharmacy Services for the Blind Noted a Healthcare Need and, Like a Prescription, Filled It


In an ironic twist, it took a sightless man to see the solution to a potentially dangerous reality: Blind people are very susceptible to fatal errors with their prescription medications. TaRonda Thomas covered the problem and its logical answer — Accessible Pharmacy Services for the Blind — for 6abc.

Alex Cohen of Fairless Hills came up with the idea of a pharmacy solely dedicated to sight-impaired patients.

Cohen’s degenerative retinal disease was slowly stealing his sight. Worried about taking his prescription drugs in the correct amounts and at the proper times, he queried local pharmacies: “Hey, what do you do for blind patients here?”

When the answer came back little to nothing, Cohen launched Accessible Pharmacy Services for the Blind.

He partnered with neighborhood pharmacist Dr. Jason Barrett to print dosage instructions and drug interaction warnings in braille. They also devised a high-tech scanner that will read QR codes aloud, informing patients of all instructions and cautions. And day-specific, touch-differentiated packaging helps ensure that proper meds are taken on prescribed days

“Punch out the drug; feel it with their hand; take the medication,” said Dr. Barrett.

The service comes with no extra fees, owing to the financial difficulties that often accompany being sight-compromised. Cohen cites a statistic that “…between 70 percent and 75 percent of [blind and visually impaired people] are unemployed.”

He continued: “If there are things we can do to help people be more independent, that’s worth the effort.”

More on Accessible Pharmacy Services for the Blind is at 6abc.