Updated Contact Lens Rule ‘Missed an Opportunity’ to Modernize the Rx Verification Process, J&J Vision Notes

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—The Federal Trade Commission’s recently updated Contact Lens Rule has not received much in the way of positive reviews from the optical community, and indeed some opponents have vowed to increase their support for proposed legislation that apparently would reverse sections of the FTC’s ruling. Johnson & Johnson Vision is among the latest to comment on the CL rule, which the FTC announced late last month, as VMAIL reported, and to announce its support of the legislation, known as the Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act, H.R. 3975. 

In late June, the FTC voted unanimously (5-0) in favor of a 183-page Final Rule, which amended the previous Contact Lens Rule. The FTC said the new rule facilitates shopping for contact lenses by requiring prescribers to automatically provide a copy of a patient’s prescription to the patient and to verify or provide prescriptions to third-party sellers.

The Final Rule, known as 16 CFR Part 315, requires prescribers to request that their patients confirm that they have received their prescription, and allows flexibility in the way the prescription and confirmation are provided, the FTC said.

A number of organizations and companies – including the American Optometric Association (AOA), CooperVision and the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety—have taken issue with the FTC’s reasoning and ruling, as VMAIL reported. 

In comments provided to VMAIL, J&J Vision noted that “while the Contact Lens Rule finalized important actions to further ensure contact lens prescriptions cannot be altered by sellers, it missed an opportunity to sufficiently modernize the current prescription verification process, and added more complexity and paperwork to the prescription release process for prescribers.”

The J&J Vision statement also noted, “Throughout the multi-year review of the Contact Lens Rule, Johnson & Johnson Vision has been leading the industry in advocating for a contact lens rule that prioritizes patient safety, and supports the patient-doctor relationship. The final rule has been met with mixed reactions based on the new requirements for both prescribers and sellers.

The statement continued: “These new requirements represent a significant administrative change for professionals. We remain committed to supporting eyecare professionals through the implementation of these new processes, while continuing to prioritize patient safety, and supporting the patient-doctor relationship.

“For example, as a leading member of the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety, Johnson & Johnson Vision is proud to support the Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act, H.R. 3975, which is a bipartisan legislation that would eliminate the use of robocalls to verify contact lens prescriptions, and thereby further enhance patient eye health and safety.”

AOA also has noted its fierce opposition to the new rule and vowed to continue fighting it. "The AOA will leave no stone unturned to fight this mandate and restore sanity to contact lens care," David A. Cockrell, OD, AOA’s advocacy chair and a past president of the association, said in post on the AOA website.

The AOA will provide ECPs more information about the FTC’s changes during its upcoming #AskAOA webinar at 9:00 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, July 30. Additionally, the AOA will share a "2020 Contact Lens Rule Compliance Toolkit" in advance of this webinar that will include information about the rule, instructions on methods to comply and template materials.