16 CFR Part 315; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request; Contact Lens Rule: FTC Project No. R511995 #03788

Submission Number:
03788
Commenter:
RICHARD PHAN
State:
California
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Part 315; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request; Contact Lens Rule: FTC Project No. R511995
Dear Chairwoman Ramirez, I am an Optometry student at the University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry. As a student clinician, I am developing my clinical experience to provide the best level care for my patients. Under the guidance of our attending doctors, we are taught to comply with the requirements of the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) and the corresponding Contact Lens Rule by providing copies of contact lens prescriptions to contact lens wearing patients at the end of the contact lens fitting process. I was disappointed to learn that the FTC will not, under its existing authority, seek to more-fully address unscrupulous business practices of online contact lens sellers that have been putting the health and safety of my patients at risk for more than a decade. I oppose the new FTC proposal to require that all contact lens wearing patients sign an acknowledgement of receipt of a contact lens prescription and that our clinic maintains this form on file for years. This requirement seems to be a heavy-handed step which presupposes that all doctors of optometry are not complying with federal law. It also would seem to disrupt the doctor-patient relationship by communicating to patients that they should be wary of their physician and assume that their doctor is a violator of federal law. Additionally, while the FTC seems to dismiss the potential burden on physicians for complying with this requirement, the proposal would undoubtedly add new costs for doctors and patients. It would require an additional step in the patient engagement process, which would necessitate ongoing staff training to ensure that doctors are meeting this unprecedented requirement. It would also require that doctors maintain these patient-signed forms for a number of years for possible review at a later date. In the past, FTC has underestimated and subsequently corrected the estimated burden on physicians for complying with the Contact Lens Rule. I am concerned that the FTC is again underestimating the potential impact of these changes. In closing, let me make clear that those who violate the contact lens rule should face enforcement action. As a member of a national organization -- the American Optometric Association -- that advocates for full compliance and has sought FTC guidance for its doctor education materials, I fear being penalized in a severe and ongoing way for the potential actions of a very few outliers. Accordingly, I respectfully request that the Commission look again at the costly impact of this burdensome proposal and, in doing so, give new and careful consideration to how it will harm tens of thousands of small and mid-sized eye care practices in communities across our country and serve as the basis for an utterly false and hostile presumption for my patients. Sincerely, Richard Phan