16 CFR Part 315; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request; Contact Lens Rule: FTC Project No. R511995 #03917

Submission Number:
03917
Commenter:
Ronald Harrison
State:
California
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Part 315; Agency Information Collection Activities: Review; Comment Request; Contact Lens Rule: FTC Project No. R511995
Chairwoman Edith Ramirez Federal Trade Commission Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center 400 7th Street SW, 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex C) Washington, DC 20024 Dear Chairwoman Ramirez, As a practicing doctor of optometry, I provide care for many contact lens wearing patients during the course of a year. As a doctor, and in accordance with the American Optometric Association's Standards of Professional Conduct, my primary ethical responsibility is to place my patients' interest above my own. I do 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 am very disappointed that the FTC will not, under its existing authority, seek to 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 requiring me to keep 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 puts the doctor-patient relationship in an unfavorable light by communicating to patients that they should be wary of their physician and assume that their doctor is a violator of federal law. This proposal is a burden, likely adding 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. It is imperative that those who violate the contact lens rule should face enforcement action. As a law-abiding, ethical doctor and 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. This proposal will very likely decrease patient trust and increase costs. Not a great idea! Respectfully, Ronald C. Harrison, OD, MS, FAAO