Rush, Burgess Issue Statement on FTC Contact Lens Rule Change

Jun 23, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) and Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-Texas) released the following statement applauding the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) announcement amending the agency’s Contact Lens Rule, which further 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.

“Countless Americans rely on contact lenses in their everyday life, making these once luxurious products an absolute necessity for many. Now, Americans have even more options when purchasing contact lenses than ever before.  However, that increased consumer choice should never come at the expense of consumer safety.

“That’s why we are grateful the FTC is continuing to update their Contact Lens Rule to better protect consumers and ensure that eye doctors fulfill their obligations to their patients.  That said, we are admittedly disappointed that the final rule still allows automated recordings for prescription verification. Our bill, the Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act, would correct this outrageous loophole by prohibiting automated verification calls, a practice that has no place in verifying sensitive medical information,” said Reps. Rush and Burgess.

The FTC’s Final Rule 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, including the receipt of digital copies for their prescriptions.  However, the rule still allows for sellers to verify prescriptions via automatic phone recordings.

The Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act (H.R. 3975) would amend the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act by providing new protections to consumers.  Specifically, it would require online retailers to provide an online portal for consumers to upload their prescriptions, encrypt all medical information sent in emails, and ban the use of robocalls.

H.R. 3975 is a bipartisan bill with 43 cosponsors and is supported by the American Optometric Association, the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.