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Coalition for Vision Safety Members Meet With FTC to Discuss Contact Lens Rule

By Staff
Friday, May 26, 2017 12:24 AM

Ophthalmologist Brian Schwam and Carol Alexander, OD, from Johnson & Johnson Vision were in Washington this week where they met with FTC acting chairman Maureen Ohlhausen.

WASHINGTON—Several member companies of the Coalition for Patient Vision Safety participated in a meeting earlier this week with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) acting chairman Maureen Ohlhausen to discuss the FTC’s proposed changes to the Contact Lens Rule.

As VMail reported, the FTC late last year proposed several changes to the 2004 Contact Lens Rule. Among the proposed changes: ECPs would be required to obtain a patient’s signed acknowledgment that they were provided with a copy of the contact lens prescription at the completion of the lens fitting, and providers would have to retain a copy of this signed acknowledgement (either hard copy or an electronic version) for at least three years.

The Coalition members attending the meeting included the American Optometric Association (AOA), Alcon, Bausch + Lomb, CooperVision and Johnson & Johnson Vision.

The Coalition and its membership have objected to the FTC’s proposed rule changes in several areas, including patient-safety issues concerning passive-verification robocalls, excessive-quantity sales and lens substitution.

At the meeting with the FTC, Brian Schwam, MD, an ophthalmologist from Johnson & Johnson Vision, joined J&J colleague Carol Alexander, OD, “to provide both ophthalmological and optometric perspectives to the conversation,” according to J&J Vision. The FTC has received almost 2,500 comments on its proposed changes to the Contact Lens Rule, mostly from ECPs who commented on the potential impact of the proposed changes to the current rule, J&J Vision noted.

After the FTC meeting, an AOA spokeswoman told VMail that the association’s leaders and staff are continuing to “urge agency officials to withdraw this harmful proposal that would impose new paperwork burdens on doctors and patients while not addressing the predatory practices of some online contact lens sellers, which have the potential to harm patients and increase health care costs.”

J&J Vision also expects to continue its efforts to work with the FTC on any changes to the existing Contact Lens Rule.

“We were proud to bring your voices to the conversation with acting chairman Ohlhausen, and reiterate our support for policies that prioritize patients’ eye health and vision safety in any decisions around consumer choice and contact lenses,” J&J Vision said in an email note to eyecare professionals.
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