Announced Action for October 14, 2005

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Contact Lens Rule compliance-related action: The staff of the Federal Trade Commission today took action to increase industry compliance with the Contact Lens Rule (16 C.F.R. Part 315). The Rule requires contact lens prescribers to give patients a copy of their prescription when their eye exam is complete. The Rule also requires contact lens sellers to obtain or verify the prescription before selling lenses to consumers. The FTC staff took the following steps relating to the Rule:

Test Shop: Following up on warning letters that were sent to contact lens prescribers in October 2004, the FTC staff sent undercover test shoppers to determine if the prescribers were providing contact lens prescriptions to patients at the completion of the contact lens fitting, as required by the Rule. The Commission received important assistance from the Offices of the Attorneys General of Pennsylvania and New York in the test shop. The test shop revealed that the prescribers were releasing prescriptions as the Rule requires. Accordingly, the FTC staff has determined that no further action with respect to the prescribers is required at this time.

Contact Lens Rule Warning Letter: The FTC staff sent a warning letter to a leading contact lens seller. The letter states that complaints indicate that the seller may have violated the Rule by not providing prescribers with a reasonable opportunity to communicate with the seller regarding verification requests. Specifically, complaints allege that the seller’s fax lines are often busy. The letter urged the seller to review the Rule and revise its practices as necessary to ensure it is complying with the Rule’s requirements.

Business Education Materials: The FTC staff updated its Questions-and-Answers about the Rule to include questions regarding telephone communications between prescribers and sellers.

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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