FTC Warns Ten Contact Lens Prescribers to Provide Patients with Prescriptions

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Federal Trade Commission staff sent ten warning letters to prescribers of contact lenses for allegedly failing to release prescription information to their patients, requiring their patients to purchase contact lenses from them, or imposing additional fees on their patients before releasing the prescriptions. Staff sent the letters on August 15, 2007, in response to consumer complaints filed with the FTC.

Under the Contact Lens Rule, contact lens prescribers must provide their patients with a copy of their contact lens prescriptions and verify the prescriptions to any contact lens seller chosen by the patient. Prescribers cannot require a patient to purchase contact lenses from the prescriber nor require the patient to pay an additional fee to receive his or her prescription.

The letters include guidance for the prescribers on their obligations under the Contact Lens Rule, pointing them to The Contact Lens Rule: A Guide for Prescribers and Sellers, and Complying With the Contact Lens Rule. Consumers can learn about their rights under federal law in The Eyes Have It - Get Your Prescription.

In 2003, Congress enacted the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, which requires prescribers of contact lenses to release contact lens prescriptions to patients. The Act also requires sellers of contact lenses to verify contact lens prescriptions with prescribers. In July 2004, the Commission issued the Contact Lens rule to implement the Act.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.shtm or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.

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