Letter: Where does it all end?
I recently heard about a discrimination complaint that is supposedly being filed in New York City. This complaint names 16 pharmacies in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, that routinely fail to help non-English speaking customers understand their...
I recently heard about a discrimination complaint that is supposedly being filed in New York City. This complaint names 16 pharmacies in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, that routinely fail to help non-English speaking customers understand their prescriptions, thereby raising the possibility of them harming themselves by taking medicines incorrectly.
Immigrant advocate groups have made these charges in a discrimination complaint they plan to file with the New York attorney general's office. The complaint is designed to force pharmacies to hire interpreters to help non-English speaking customers understand their prescriptions.
One of the pharmacies named in the complaint is Walgreen's. A spokesman for the chain said they already provide medication labels in 14 languages, and also have a database of its pharmacists who speak other languages, enabling a pharmacist to call a colleague who can talk to their customer.
Another chain named in the complaint is CVS. They also said they provide telephone interpreters in 150 languages. Rite Aid stores are also named in the complaint. Rite Aid also said it tried to hire bilingual pharmacists, as well as providing labels in 14 different languages.
I appreciate the immigrants concerns, but can you imagine what a slippery slope this can become if it is allowed to go forward. Pretty soon, chains like Wal-Mart will also be forced to provide interpreters, not only in their drug stores, but also in their sporting goods departments because they also sell guns and ammo. Everybody understands that a gun can be dangerous in the hands of an untrained person.
For that matter, rodent poison that is normally sold in their garden shops is also dangerous in the hands of an untrained person. My point is this: Where is this sort of thing going to end? For instance, how many different languages do you suppose are being spoken in New York City alone?
I don't have any figures, but I'll bet it's in the hundreds. Can you see the implications if this complaint is allowed to go forward?