Johnson & Johnson Reps, AOA Execs Meet With FTC to Discuss Contact Lens Rule

By Staff
Friday, May 26, 2017 12:24 AM
WASHINGTON—Representatives of Johnson & Johnson Vision, the Coalition for Patient Vision Safety and the American Optometric Association (AOA) met earlier this week with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) acting chairman Maureen Ohlhausen to discuss FTC’s proposed changes to the Contact Lens Rule, according to J&J Vision.

As VMail reported, the FTC late last year proposed several changes to the 2004 Contact Lens Rule. Among the proposed changes: ECPs would be required to obtain a patient’s signed acknowledgment that they were provided with a copy of the contact lens prescription at the completion of the lens fitting, and providers would have to retain a copy of this signed acknowledgement (either hard copy or an electronic version) for at least three years.

The Coalition for Patient Vision Safety, which includes as members Alcon and Bausch + Lomb, among other companies, has objected to the FTC’s proposed changes in the areas of patient-safety issues concerning passive-verification robocalls, excessive-quantity sales and lens substitution.

Earlier this week, Brian Schwam, MD, an ophthalmologist from Johnson & Johnson Vision, joined J&J colleague Carol Alexander, OD, at the meeting with the FTC “to provide both ophthalmological and optometric perspectives to the conversation,” according to J&J Vision. The FTC has received almost 2,500 comments on its proposed changes to the Contact Lens Rule, mostly from ECPs who commented on the potential impact of the proposed changes to the current rule, J&J Vision noted.

After the FTC meeting, an AOA spokeswoman told VMail that the association’s leaders and staff are continuing to “urge agency officials to withdraw this harmful proposal that would impose new paperwork burdens on doctors and patients while not addressing the predatory practices of some online contact lens sellers, which have the potential to harm patients and increase health care costs.”

J&J Vision also expects to continue its efforts to work with the FTC on any changes to the existing Contact Lens Rule.

“We were proud to bring your voices to the conversation with acting chairman Ohlhausen, and reiterate our support for policies that prioritize patients’ eye health and vision safety in any decisions around consumer choice and contact lenses,” J&J Vision said in an email note to eyecare professionals.

“During a time of transition for the FTC—and as we await news of plans to finalize its proposed changes [to the Contact Lens Rule]—our discussion with acting chairman Ohlhausen was an opportunity for the vision care community to continue to work with FTC on steps forward, and raise some of our concerns with proposed changes to the Contact Lens Rule,” according to the email.