FTC 16 CFR Part 315 Public Workshop Examining Contact Lens Marketplace And Analyzing Proposed Changes To The Contact Lens Rule #3105

Submission Number:
3105
Commenter:
Yennamandra
Organization:
State:
New York
Initiative Name:
FTC 16 CFR Part 315 Public Workshop Examining Contact Lens Marketplace And Analyzing Proposed Changes To The Contact Lens Rule
As a doctor of optometry and a frontline provider of essential eye health and vision care in our local community, I respectfully request that you write to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission today to express your concern regarding its lack of enforcement against illegal contact lens sales as well as its unnecessary and costly proposal to mandate that all eye doctors obtain from each contact lens-wearing patient a signed document indicating that the patient received a copy of their contact lens prescription. Under the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, the FTC plays an important role in overseeing and enforcing the law's key provisions. The FCLCA requires that online contact lens resellers verify patients' contact lens prescriptions with their eye doctor and that eye doctors provide patients with a copy of their contact lens prescription. While the majority of eye doctors, including me, have complied with our requirements under the law, nearly 1-in-3 consumers have reported ongoing illegal conduct by online contact lens resellers. As part of the FTC's ten-year review of regulations implementing the FCLCA, the Commission issued a proposed change in 2016 which, instead of focusing on ongoing patient health and safety concerns, would mandate that every practicing eye doctors who prescribes contact lenses in the United States -- optometrists and ophthalmologists -- obtain from each of about 40 million contact lens-wearing patients a signed document indicating that the patient received a copy of their contact lens prescription. In issuing the proposed changes, the FTC discounted patient safety concerns and justified its new paperwork mandate by pointing to anecdotal reports and industry-sponsored surveys claiming prescription release concerns. However, data obtained through a 2017 FOIA request revealed that the FTC received a total of 309 complaints over the last five years out of nearly 200 million prescriptions issued. According to FTC estimates, the new paperwork mandate would cost doctors roughly $10.5 million in the first year. A study conducted by a group of independent health economists found that, if finalized, costs could be nearly ten-times FTC estimates. While I understand that the Commission believes additional regulations are needed to address a perceived lack of compliance on the part of eye doctors, I believe that FTC time and taxpayer resources would be better served by the Commission instead focusing on exercising its existing authority to combat illegal contact lens sales. Rather than implement the current proposal, I believe that the FTC and Congress' shared goal of balancing market competition with safe and healthy use of medical devices can be achieved by greater FTC enforcement of existing healthy safeguards and by -- instead of a new paperwork mandate - requiring eye doctors to post signage in their offices notifying patients of their rights under the law and of where and how to report non-compliance. Combating illegal contact lens sales would help better safeguard patient sight while requiring posted signage of patients 'rights would help to educate consumers without adding a new regulatory cost to consumer prices while unnecessarily burdening eye doctors, many of which are small business owners. Thank you for your time and consideration.