FTC Workshop Set to Review Contact Lens Marketplace and Proposed Changes to Contact Lens Rule


WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Federal Trade Commission has invited a cross-section of executives working in the contact lens sector to participate in Wednesday’s (March 7) public workshop that is designed to review the contact lens marketplace and the proposed changes to the agency’s Contact Lens Rule, as VMAIL reported earlier this year. Registration for non-speakers at the workshop is scheduled to begin at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday at the FTC’s Constitution Center building, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, D.C. The meeting is scheduled to finish at 5 p.m., and is free and open to the public. A copy of the agenda can be found here. In addition, the FTC said it will post a link to a live stream Wednesday morning on its events page.

The much-anticipated workshop comes in the midst of FTC’s review of the existing Contact Lens Rule. As VMAIL reported, the commission issued a “notice of proposed rulemaking” in late 2016, at which time the agency’s proposed changes to the CL rule were made public. In place since August 2004, the Contact Lens Rule is designed to “promote competition in the retail sale of contact lenses by facilitating consumers’ ability to comparison shop for contact lenses,” according to the FTC’s announcement. The rule imposes obligations on both ECPs and contact lens sellers.

Among the topics expected to be aired at the workshop, according to the FTC, are:

• Consumers’ ability to comparison shop for contact lenses.
• The use of electronic health records, patient portals and other technology to improve prescription portability.
• The interaction between the Contact Lens Rule and emerging telehealth business models.
• The potential for new technology to improve the prescription verification process.
• Modifications to the Rule to foster competition and maximize consumer benefits, including benefits to eye health.

Scheduled speakers and/or panelists include: Dr. David A. Cockrell, OD, Diplomate American Board of Optometry, past president of the American Optometric Association; Steve Kodey, senior director of Industry Research Services, The Vision Council; Wallace W. Lovejoy, Lovejoy Eyecare Consulting LLC, appearing as a consultant to the National Association of Optometrists and Opticians; John Graham, chief executive officer, 1-800 Contacts; Gary Swearingen, corporate counsel, Costco Wholesale; David Sonnenreich, deputy Utah attorney general, state of Utah, office of the attorney general; Mitch Wessels, senior director of Contact Lenses, Luxottica N.A.; Mary K. Engle, associate director, Division of Advertising Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection; Alex Bargar, director of Clinical Services, Simple Contacts; and Peter A. Menziuso, president, North America, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., among others.