The Federal Trade Commission will hold a public workshop in Washington, DC, on March 7, 2018 to explore issues regarding competition in the contact lens marketplace, consumer access to contact lenses, prescription release and portability, and related subjects. The workshop is being held in conjunction with the Commission’s regulatory review of the Contact Lens Rule. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM) was issued in December 2016 announcing proposed changes to the Commission’s Contact Lens Rule.
The Rule, in place since August 2004, helps to promote competition in the retail sale of contact lenses by facilitating consumers’ ability to comparison shop for contact lenses. It imposes obligations on both eye-care prescribers and contact lens sellers.
When a prescriber completes a contact lens fitting, the Rule requires the prescriber to automatically provide the patient with a complete copy of the contact lens prescription, and to verify or provide the prescription to authorized third parties.
The Rule also requires that contact lens sellers dispense contact lenses only in accordance with a valid prescription the seller has received from either the patient or prescriber, or has verified via direct communication with the prescriber.
The workshop will cover topics including:
- Consumers’ ability to comparison shop for contact lenses;
- The use of electronic health records, patient portals, and other technology to improve prescription portability;
- The interaction between the Contact Lens Rule and emerging telehealth business models;
- The potential for new technology to improve the prescription verification process; and
- Modifications to the Rule to foster competition and maximize consumer benefits, including benefits to eye health.
A more detailed agenda will be published at a later date, in advance of the scheduled workshop.
The workshop will be organized into panels and panelists will be selected by the FTC. Other attendees will have an opportunity to comment and ask questions.
If you would like to request to participate as a panelist at the workshop, please submit your request by January 5, 2018 via email to email@example.com. Please include a brief statement setting forth your expertise in or knowledge of the issues on which the workshop will focus as well as your contact information, including a telephone number and email address, to allow us to contact you if you are selected.
The FTC also welcomes written comments on the issues to be discussed at the workshop. Interested parties may file a comment online at: https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/contactlensworkshop.
You can find additional information about how to submit comments in the detailed public notice about the workshop. The deadline for submitting comments is April 6, 2018.
The workshop is free and open to the public, and will be held at the Constitution Center, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC. It will be webcast live on the FTC’s website.