ASCO Supports Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act

ASCO has signed on as a supporter of S. 2777, a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on April 11. The bill, also known as the Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act, aims to modernize the prescription verification process for contact lenses and clarify consumer protections regarding false advertising of contact lenses.

To address patient and prescriber concerns, the bill updates existing statute and clarifies Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations in the following ways:

• alleviates the flood of robo-calls to prescriber offices by allowing prescribers to choose a preferred method of communication from sellers

• calls for sellers of contact lenses to provide doctors with a working (i.e., manned) toll-free number and an e-mail address for more rapid communication

• preserves accuracy of contact lens sales by creating records of prescription expiration dates that the sellers must maintain

• prevents prescribers’ medical concerns from being ignored; if prescribers raise concerns about improper substitutions or modifications to prescriptions, the bill ensures that patients can have a valid prescription filled, even in cases of sellers attempting to get an inaccurate prescription filled

• provides safeguards against patients getting the wrong contact lenses, while ensuring rapid access to contact lenses

• protects consumers against false advertising from sellers offering contacts without a valid prescription

• clarifies FTC’s jurisdiction over business practices of all online sellers of contact lenses who sell to Americans, and updates the penalties the FTC may impose on violators

In addition, S. 2777 calls for a study that will look into violations of the 2003 Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA), FTC enforcement of the FCLCA, adverse effects to consumers of bad business practices in this sector, and the prevalence of overfilling and improper filling of contact lens prescriptions.