July 24, 1997
Linda D. Kilb, Esq.
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
2212 Sixth Street
Berkeley, California 94710
I am responding to your letter dated November 29, 1995, regarding the requirements of title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Your letter asks whether title III requires pharmacies to cut pills in half at the request of customers with disabilities when half-doses are prescribed by such customers' physicians. I apologize for the delay in responding.
The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that have rights or responsibilities under the Act. Pursuant to that authority, this letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a legal interpretation of the statute, and it is not binding on the Department.
Title III of the ADA requires places of public accommodation, including pharmacies, to make reasonable modifications to their policies, practices, and procedures when such modifications are necessary in order to avoid discriminating on the basis of disability. 28 C.F.R. § 36.302. We have consulted with persons associated with the pharmacy industry, including the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, who have informed us that pharmacists regularly cut pills in half to meet dosing requirements prescribed by doctors at the request of patients. In light of this information, we believe that cutting pills in half for persons with disabilities is a reasonable modification required by title III under the circumstances described in your letter.
I hope this information is helpful to you.
John L. Wodatch
Disability Rights Section >