Bausch + Lomb Ends Unilateral Pricing Policy

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BRIDGEWATER, N.J.—Bausch + Lomb became the latest contact lens company to move away from its Unilateral Pricing Policy (UPP) with the announcement late Friday that a “competitive imbalance” had forced the company to discontinue the program.

In late December, Alcon also dropped UPP just a few days after a federal appeals court denied an injunction seeking to keep a Utah law prohibiting such pricing for CLs from being enforced, as VMail reported.

B+L also cited the appeals court ruling in its decision in its Friday announcement. Alcon, B+L and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, which had previously dropped UPP pricing, had filed a lawsuit seeking to have the Utah law declared unconstitutional and sought the injunction until the lawsuit is decided.

B+L’s Joseph Gordon, senior vice president and general manager of B+L’s U.S. Vision Care and Consumer Health Care, announced the company’s decision in a letter to ECPs. He noted that the court decision in favor of Utah’s ban on UPP programs for contact lenses has “created a competitive imbalance by permitting Utah-based customers to sell contact lenses at rates below those who sell our contact lenses in other states. Recognizing this imbalance, we have been forced to re-evaluate our UPP, and as a result are unable to continue our UPP for our applicable contact lens products, effective immediately.”

In Utah, the Contact Lens Consumer Protection Act prohibits certain commercial practices by contact lens manufacturers, including UPP and minimum advertised pricing (MAP). Online retailer 1-800 Contacts is based in Utah and it supported the Utah law banning these programs.

At the time Alcon dropped its UPP program in December, B+L said it was “evaluating its options.”

Gordon noted in his letter that B+L “will continue to provide programs and tools that help make our products more affordable and accessible.” He added that B+L’s rebate programs offers patients “significant cost savings” on its contact lenses, “and we are encouraging patients to buy their lenses from the offices that prescribed them.” To receive the maximum rebate value, patients “must get their contact lens exam and purchase their contact lenses from their prescribing doctor,” Gordon said in the note.

B+L also noted that all of the information about its rebate program is available through individual sales reps and via the company’s customer service team at (800) 828-9030. In addition, B+L has established a dedicated e-mail address that ECPs and retailers can use to share “thoughts and ideas” with the company. The address is: uppquestions@bausch.com.