Optometry groups say proposed changes to Contact Lens Rule fall short
The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety and the American Optometric Association voiced support for some of the changes the FTC proposed to the Contact Lens Rule last week, but the groups were still dissatisfied with several points, including the prescription verification process and paperwork burden on the doctor and patient.
The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety said in a press release, “The FTC’s proposed rule acknowledges some of the key problems associated with prescription verification via robocalls, but does not close the verification loophole.”
The FTC’s proposal requires that the telephone messages from the contact lens sellers be “delivered in a slow and deliberate manner and at a reasonably understandable volume,” and that “prescribers be able to repeat the message.”
The alliance said in the release it also believes that “greater enforcement is necessary to ensure that patients receive the exact lenses prescribed by their doctor.”
The FTC proposes that the contact lens prescription verification request must include the name of a manufacturer or brand if it is different than that specified by the prescriber, unless the name is specifically provided by the patient. In addition, the commission proposes to require a mechanism that would allow patients to present their prescriptions directly to the seller to ensure that they receive the lenses prescribed for them,
Alliance chair Deanna Alexander, OD, said in the release from the group, “The FTC’s proposed rule does recognize important issues with the contact lens market, but it does not fully address patient safety concerns around robocall verification of contact lens prescriptions or the ongoing enforcement of illegal substitution for what the patient’s doctor has prescribed.”
The AOA, in a statement on its website, said the group continues to oppose the FTC recommendation requiring contact lens prescribers to obtain a signed form from patients indicating they received their contact lens prescription.
The FTC proposal specifies that prescribers would have to satisfy a new Confirmation of Prescription Request requirement through one of these methods:
— a separate confirmation statement signed by the patient;
— a copy of the prescription signed by the patient and retained by the prescriber;
— a copy of the sales receipt signed by the patient and indicating that the patient received the prescription; or
— evidence that the patient received a digital copy of the prescription.
The AOA said it also “remains opposed to the use of robocalls to confirm contact lens prescriptions.”
The group supports the FTC’s efforts to impose new requirements on contact lens retailers.
“While the FTC must do more to ensure safety in the market, the updated proposal takes aim at true and widespread contact lens retailer issues that the commission was previously unwilling to act on,” the AOA said on its website.
The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety’s membership comprises the AOA, Johnson & Johnson Vision, VSP, CooperVision and Sightbox.