Sale of medicine without Arabic, Russian extended

Knesset extends May 1 deadline which would have prevented the sale of prescription medication packages without translations.

Health Minister Yael German 370 (photo credit: Courtesy Knesset)
Health Minister Yael German 370
(photo credit: Courtesy Knesset)
The regular supply of prescription medications will continue beyond May 1, as the Knesset at midnight on Monday voted 30 to one in favor of allowing the sale of packages lacking information translated into Arabic and Russian.
Previously, the May 1 deadline would have prevented the sale of packages without translations.
A private member’s bill initiated the translation requirement. At present, package information appears in Hebrew and English.
The pharmaceutical companies argued that they were not ready for the change, while Health Minister Yael German said that they had been given enough time – a total of 26 months – to prepare.
German said on Tuesday that a special temporary order approved by the Knesset made it possible to postpone the deadline and that the ministry had arranged for a special levy on the companies that will pay for the translation.
The ministry said that in the meantime, speakers of the two languages will be able to call Russian- and Arabic-speaking pharmacists with questions about drug packages. In addition, a special website will be provided to explain the drugs to patients.
The minister blamed the companies for the delay, charging that they “ignored” the Knesset’s original regulation about the translations.
“Out of responsibility to the public, the ministry prepared the temporary order to ensure the continued supply of the drugs,” she said.