Plain Talking: Gobbledygook Costs Money and Risks Lives

BY CONOR POPE, THE IRISH TIMES — Needlessly complicated communication from pharmaceutical companies and medical professionals could be putting patients’ lives at risk, a conference on plain language taking place in Dublin has been told.

The 10th International Plain Conference, which promotes clearer language among businesses and state organisations, heard that communication in the health sector was frequently a matter of life and death – and fear of litigation rather an attempt to communicate effectively with patients was behind much of the language used in correspondence and on packaging.

Deborah Bosley, the president of Plain, alluded to the lengthy and frequently unreadable contraindication information on drug packaging and pointed out that “disclosure does not equal communication”.

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