Utah Bill Aims to Include Patient Condition on Prescription Labels

SALT LAKE CITY – A bill introduced Monday at the Utah Legislature aims to help first responders, who often have a difficult task of determining a patient’s medical history in the limited amount of time sometimes available to them.

SB203 provides an option to physicians and health care providers in the state to put the intended use of a medication on a prescription bottle label, said bill sponsor, Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay. She said some already make the information available, but the bill would encourage more physicians and pharmacists to participate in the practice. “There are many reasons why we need to have more information on the label than we do,” Jones told the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, adding that the information could also help caretakers and family members who are faced with taking their loved ones to the hospital or to a doctor not familiar with the patient in an urgent time of need.

Capt. Tony Allred, a Salt Lake City Fire paramedic, said not knowing a patient’s history can pose potential medical problems when assessing the need for immediate treatment. “If we’re called to a patient who is elderly and unconscious and there’s no one around to give a good history, we go to the big box of medications that inevitably a patient has and sort through the clues,” he said, adding that anyone else present at the time is usually not in an appropriate state to give details. “Time becomes important on a street level,” Allred said.

The bill received support from the committee and now heads to the full Senate body for further discussion.

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