(LAS VEGAS, NV) – Citizen Outreach, a conservative, free-market advocacy organization, signed onto a coalition letter submitted to the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week in opposition to H.R. 3975, The Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act.
The letter, directed to Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) and Reps. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Michael Burgess (R-TX), was co-signed by members of the Coalition for Contact Lens Consumer Choice, including Americans for Tax Reform, the National Taxpayers Union, R Street and the Institute for Liberty.
The letter reads, in part…
“The hallmark of our coalition is our overwhelming support for consumer protection laws and the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA). We believe that H.R. 3975 would undercut the FCLCA, a vital consumer protection law, and severely harm consumers and competition in the contact lens marketplace.
“This proposed bill would depart from more than 15 years of policies and regulations that promote competition and affordable access to contact lenses and cost taxpayers and consumers millions of dollars.”
The main objection to the bill is a provision that would eliminate the automated phone prescription verification process, as noted in the letter…
“This automated system requires a contact lenses retailer to wait eight business hours after contacting the prescriber before it may fulfill a consumer’s order, instead of requiring the retailer to wait indefinitely for the prescriber to positively verify the prescription.
“Congress adopted this system after receiving evidence of widespread refusals by prescribers to verify prescriptions in the hopes of preventing their patients from buying their lenses from other retailers.
“This bill is a blatant attempt to turn back the clock to the days when optometrists had total control over a consumer’s contact lens prescription and free rein to charge whatever they wanted for contact lenses.”
Chuck Muth, president of Citizen Outreach, points out that optometrists are the only medical professionals allowed by law to sell directly to the consumer the very products they are prescribing.
“This unique ability has resulted in a major cash cow for eye doctors and I don’t blame them for not wanting to give up this captive audience,” Muth said. “But Congress should protect what’s in the best interest of consumers, not what’s in the best interest of the optometrists’ bottom line.”