Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Introduces Unilateral Pricing Policy on ‘Strategic Brand’ CLs, Discontinues Some Acuvue Brands

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Laura Angelini, president, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care – North America.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla—Last week, in a letter addressed to eyecare professionals dated June 24, 2014, Laura Angelini, president, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care – North America, announced the company’s launch of its “Enterprise Strategy” and “roadmap for the future,” part of which includes resetting the price of specific contact lens products in the U.S. according to a new “unilateral pricing policy.”

Now, all wholesale customers will receive the same pricing for certain existing contact lenses already offered in the company’s portfolio, Angelini told VMail. The policy applies to the company’s number one reusable, Acuvue Oasys, its number one disposable, Acuvue Moist, and its 1-Day Acuvue TruEye, which Angelini described as the company’s “strategic brands.” The new policy also sets minimum retail pricing, which has been communicated to all its customers. In addition, manufacturer’s rebates have been eliminated by building those discounts into the retail price of these legacy products rather than requiring customers to send in proof of purchase to obtain rebates.

Angelini described this new pricing as a “holistic multifaceted pricing policy to refocus the conversation between the doctor and the patient on eye health and product performance rather than price. This gives the optometrist the ability to improve his or her capture rate in the office,” she told VMail. “Now the patient has no incentive to shop around.”

The letter to eyecare professionals described the three areas in which the company would “demonstrate support for the profession and the professional—Prescribers, Portfolio and Preferred Partners.” Within the “Prescribers” portion, the letter referenced the new pricing strategy and also introduced a new six-month supply pack of Acuvue Oasys, as a means of improving patient compliance, noting that beginning July 1, 2014, the product will no longer be available in three-month supply packs. The Oasys product portfolio also features new packaging.

The letter cited the scheduled 2015 introduction of the 1-Day Acuvue Define lens to the U.S. Already available in Asia, the contact lens is built on the 1-Day Acuvue Moist platform and adds a natural-looking luminous definition to the eye by enhancing the appearance of the iris, giving it more contrast, dimension and radiance without changing the color. Because they are not colored contact lenses but rather “add luminosity to the iris,” Angelini described them as creating a new category of contact lenses. In addition, a multifocal will be added to the 1-Day Acuvue Moist family of brands.

The “Preferred Partners” section of the letter states that the company “will continue to develop solutions that further elevate the importance of the prescriber. For example, we will continue to expand the Acuvue myAdvantage Program to include services to assist with contact lens practice management, patient education and staff support.” The letter concludes with a request for feedback at customerexperience@its.jnj.com.

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care also announced that effective March 31, 2015, it will discontinue Acuvue Advance, Acuvue Advance for Astigmatism, Acuvue Advance Plus, as well as the Acuvue brand contact lenses that were originally introduced in 1987. Diagnostic lenses for Acuvue Advance and Acuvue Advance for Astigmatism had previously been discontinued, and diagnostic lenses for Acuvue Advance Plus will be discontinued effective Aug. 1, 2014.

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care will provide in-office tools to help doctors and staff transition patients from Acuvue Advance and the original Acuvue to the most current Acuvue technology. The company also will alert contact lens wearers by communicating the product discontinuation information on the Acuvue website. The company is also offering a reimbursement of up to $100 toward patients’ fitting fees when Acuvue Advance brand family or Acuvue wearers are prescribed an annual supply of any product in the Acuvue Oasys brand family, 1-Day Acuvue Moist brand family, or 1-Day Acuvue TruEye brand contact Lenses.

“For more than 25 years, the Acuvue brand has been at the forefront of innovation, contributing to today’s high standards for contact lenses,” said Angelini. “Contact lens wearers continue to embrace innovative new materials, technologies, and designs that meet their vision, comfort, health and lifestyle needs. As we continue to invest heavily in research and development of new and improved products that offer benefits beyond vision correction, we have made the decision to discontinue production of some of our older technology.”