16 CFR Part 315; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request; Contact Lens Rule: FTC Project No. R511995
I am a doctor of optometry and appreciate this opportunity to offer comment on the Contact Lens Rule. The Contact Lens Rule (the Rule) and the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) were intended to enhance competition in the market for contact lenses by creating a federal right of patients to receive contact lens prescriptions from their eye doctors, and establishing a process for contact lens sellers to verify the prescriptions of lenses ordered by consumers. However, as regulated medical devices that require a prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist, contact lenses have always been subject to government oversight. Too often in the last decade, the FTC has silently allowed some sellers to repeatedly fill contact lens prescriptions well past the expiration date - in some instances putting the patients' sight in jeopardy. The passive verification method has incentivized contact lens sellers to game the system. Thus, the FTC should modify the Rule to better protect the public: 1. Prohibit sellers from sending prescription verifications after business hours and on weekends. Sellers frequently fill unverified prescriptions because the prescriber has not had eight business hours to respond due to his or her practice being closed after hours. 2. Prohibit the use of robocalls for verifying patient prescriptions. The calls are often too long and confusing. 3. Prohibit the sale of contact lenses with an expired prescription. An expired prescription should be seen as an inherently invalid prescription. 4. Require that contact lens prescriptions include a maximum quantity of lenses that can be purchased prior to the prescription's expiration. The amount should not exceed the maximum quantity noted on the patient's prescription. Because contact lenses are medical devices, an active verification system would better protect the public. Patients' eye health is put at risk by unscrupulous companies seeking to maximize sales. Therefore, I strongly urge the FTC to strengthen the Rule to protect the public's eye health. I can personally vouch for a number of my patients that have obtained their contacts illegally. All they did was to simply contact an on line vendor such as 1-800 - contact lens and order their lenses. I was never contacted by 1-800 contact lens to verify any prescription that I had written. These types of sales are not legal and I would be happy to provide a number of instances where my patients have obtained their contact lenses illegally without any instance where the contact lens provider has made any attempt to verify the patient's prescription before selling the product to the patient. I would love to be able to order any variety of drugs through an on line provider without any verification of RX. What's next? Will I be able to have my patient fill his oxycontin prescription on line without a doctor verification?