August 6, 2009
Pharmacy Pamphlets Apparently More About Looks Than Legibility
It seems like common sense that an information leaflet for vision loss would have large print and appropriate contrast, but that's not the case a new study done at the University of Alberta has found.
Cheryl Sadowski, from the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and pharmacy student Adriana Chubaty, looked at 388 leaflets from pharmacies and clinics in Edmonton and surrounding area, to see if they followed the guidelines from Britain, the United States and Canada. Only 23 per cent of leaflets met at least nine of the10 recommendations made by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. One per cent met at least 10 of the 11 criteria set out by the Royal National Institute of Blind People in Britain. In fact, many of the numbers are shocking:
- Only 33 per cent used at least a size-12 font, a majority of the remaining two-thirds used a font size smaller than 10.
- One leaflet providing information for patients with cataracts and age-related macular degeneration used a font size of six.
- Just 7.9 per cent used appropriate paper finish, for example glossy versus non-glossy.
- Sadowski and Chubaty don't think legislation is necessary at this point to ensure the guidelines are followed. In fact, because they found the guidelines so difficult to find, they're calling on the organizations that developed them to make them more accessible for companies publishing leaflets.
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