FTC releases unanimous, bipartisan rule following 5-year review

DRAPER, Utah, July 15, 2020 – 1-800 Contacts, the leading online contact lens retailer, praises the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for their unanimous and bipartisan Final Rule of the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA), 16 C.F.R. pt. 315, which protects consumer rights. More commonly known as the Contact Lens Rule (CLR), the FTC’s review included a public comment period, studies, analyses, surveys, as well as an FTC workshop on the CLR and market.

The Final Rule secured several key provisions previously proposed by the FTC including automatic prescription release signed acknowledgment, patient signature capture and record retention, and passive verification. These modernizations will protect consumers’ rights, increase choice and competition, while enhancing the FTC’s enforcement ability. Automatic prescription release signed acknowledgment is particularly important because independent research has shown that up to half of ODs do not automatically release prescriptions. Automatic prescription release compliance cannot occur without an enforcement mechanism. Without this updated Final Rule requiring a signature upon release, many doctors will continue choosing not to release prescriptions. The Final Rule ensures that patients have greater access to their vision prescription and more choice.

“With the Final Rule, the FTC safeguarded consumers’ rights,” said John Graham, CEO of 1-800 Contacts. “Serving customers is at the heart of everything we do and the FTC – through a thorough, unanimous decision – handed consumers the control they deserve to access the best price, highest quality, and most convenient solution for their vision care.”

The FTC protects and educates consumers, while promoting market competition. Since 2004, the CLR has been providing requirements for those prescribing and selling contact lenses. Following the mandatory Congressional review, the FTC voted 5-0 for the Final Rule. FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter issued a statement on the contact lens market, the due diligence in the review process, and the CLR’s “purpose of empowering consumers when shopping for contact lenses.” The Commissioner noted:

The Commission’s staff thoroughly reviewed thousands of comments from prescribers, sellers, manufacturers, consumers, advocates, and other stakeholders in a multi-part, systematic review of the Contact Lens Rule, 16 C.F.R. pt. 315, which implements the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act of 2003. I support this resulting Final Notice of Rulemaking, which updates the Rule with reasonable compromises that further the Act’s purpose of empowering consumers when shopping for contact lenses…

In place since August 2004, the CLR enforces obligations on eye-care prescribers and contact lens sellers. The Final Rule goes into effect 60-days after publication in the Federal Register.

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About 1-800 Contacts

1-800 Contacts is the original disruptor of the vision industry and has spent the last 25 years in pursuit of a better way for vision care and customer experience. The brand has advocated relentlessly on behalf of customers, securing federal legislation that allowed customers the right to their prescription and paving the way for another generation of start-ups. As the largest seller of contact lenses, 1-800 Contacts seamlessly serves millions of loyal customers monthly who have rewarded the brand with a Net Promoter Score above 80.

1-800 Contacts employs more than 1,000 associates between its Utah and North Carolina campuses and is part of the Internet Retailer Top 500.

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