FTC 16 CFR Part 315 Public Workshop Examining Contact Lens Marketplace And Analyzing Proposed Changes To The Contact Lens Rule
I am a doctor of optometry practicing in rural area of Maine. This new contact lens rule is senseless and would add significant time and cost to a contact lens examination and punish the overwhelming majority of eye care professionals who already comply with the rule. Why the FTC believes that additional rulemaking would prompt the scant few who choose to ignore existing federal law to suddenly become compliant makes little sense. What the new rule will certainly do is punish the innocent majority who already do comply. Far worse, it will do nothing to protect patients or consumer interests. It may also decrease competition, as some of us just give up on contact lenses entirely. While enforcement of the existing rule would be more logical and effective, the FTC has shown little interest in prosecuting violators. Indeed, passive verification rules are flouted to the extent that intentional violation appears to be a part of the business plan of companies like Hubble, which routinely fill non-existent prescriptions with their own generic lenses. Other sellers intentionally game the system by calling at off-hours when offices are unable to respond in a timely fashion to decline expired or fabricated prescriptions. There is common ground where the broad access and increased competition that the FTC seeks can coexist with the patient health and safety that we are sworn to protect. The proposed rule changes will not achieve this balance. Protecting consumer and patient interests would require that the FTC recognize and address the egregious abuses of online and big box retailers while increasing broad enforcement of all of its rules. The FTC should recognize that we are not the enemy of consumers, but allies who are equally committed to protecting our patients' health and well-being. Thank you, Kiran Jones, O.D.