Our Continued Commitment – An Update on the FTC’s Contact Lens Rule

On June 23rd, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its final amendments to the Contact Lens Rule, which had been in review for almost 5 years. Over that span of time, CooperVision, through its charter membership in the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (APS), its membership in the Contact Lens Institute (CLI), and as an individual contributor, has worked to educate Congress and the FTC about the importance of the doctor/patient relationship as it relates to contact lens wear.

The FTC’s ruling left in place the original Contact Lens Rule requirement that all ECPs must provide a copy of the contact lens Rx to patients without them having to ask for it. It added a requirement that all prescribers, effective October 16, 2020, must keep a record of proof they provided the contact lens Rx to their patients. The FTC also provided updated guidance to sellers regarding the appropriate use of robocalls for passive verification.

A recent posting here on ECP Viewpoints highlights the requirements for prescribers and includes a link to a very comprehensive Compliance Toolkit from the AOA.  At the end of the toolkit, the AOA has provided information about where eye care practitioners (ECPs) can go to report seller behavior that they feel is inconsistent with the requirements.  The deadline for compliance is October 16th.  

But we have not given up on the principles that we hold as critical to the doctor/patient relationship as they relate to the contact lens prescription.  And we remain firm that robocall communication is not the ideal way to verify a contact lens Rx.  To that end, we are in support of two pieces of legislation designed to modernize the passive verification process. The first, HR 3975 is the Contact Lens Rule Modernization Act introduced by Bobby Rush (D-IL) in the summer of 2019.  This bill currently has 67 co-sponsors in the House, both Democrats and Republicans.  We will continue to work to influence congressional leaders about the importance of this bill. ECPs who want to bring this issue to the attention of their local congressional leaders can find support tools here: https://www.aoa.org/advocacy/federal/action-center

Very recently, the Senate introduced its own Contact Lens Rule Modernization Act (S. 4613) througction-centeh the support of Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Sen Jim Inofe (R-OK) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).  This legislation also looks to eliminate robocalls as part of the passive verification process and goes one step further in advocating that practitioners need only to post signage regarding a patient’s rights to a copy of their prescription, rather than the more cumbersome options outlined by the FTC.  Again, CooperVision will support this legislation and work toward increased sponsorship and passage.
Doctors who are interested in supporting this legislation can reach out to their own Senators and ask for their support via this process suggested by the AOA:  https://www.aoa.org/advocacy/federal/action-center 
We will continue our work in this area, both on our own as well as with key partners, including the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (APS), the Contact Lens Institute (CLI) and the American Optometric Association.  We will continue to work to influence congressional decision makers and mobilize eye care professionals whenever possible.

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