The pharmaceutical company has updated its over-the-counter product packaging in the United Kingdom.
German pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Bayer has announced that it is adding a QR code to the packaging of its over-the-counter (OTC) products in the United Kingdom to improve accessibility for patients who are blind or partially sighted.
The barcodes have already been added to Canescool Soothing Gel Cream brand packaging.
According to Bayer Consumer Health UK, that women’s health product is used for calming intimate area irritation and is the first product that will have the accessible QR code.
The country has long required that medicine packages contain braille, but that is typically meant exclusively to identify the product. By adding the quick response barcode to the packaging, patients have an entirely new way to obtain more accessible information about the products.
To use the QR code, all patients need to do is scan with a smartphone’s accessibility app.
Once the barcode has been scanned, the product information is shared out loud. Moreover, users are then directed to a Canescool website landing page that provides additional resources – each of which have accessibility features for reading aloud. Among those resources is a quiz that helps to dispel common myths regarding irritation of intimate areas of the body.
It is currently estimated that there are around 200,000 women in the United Kingdom with blindness or partial sight. This, according to Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) data.
To scan the QR code, users can open an app such as Envision, which was developed to help people with blindness or partial sight to share visual information as speech. For instance, the app allows a user to point the camera at their surroundings in order to have them described. In the case of Bayer’s barcode, the app can scan the barcode so the product information can be shared verbally.
Microsoft SeeingAI and a Zappar-developped app are other options that can be used to scan the barcode on the Bayer packages.
“Independence and choice is something we should all have, especially when it comes to looking after ourselves,” said Marc Powell, accessibility innovation lead at the RNIB, calling for other pharmaceutical companies to follow suit. “More than two million people in the UK are living with sight loss and by 2050 it will double to over four million people.”