By George Flaggs –
Competition and the free market are cornerstones of the Mississippi and American economies, but some products still experience anticompetitive behavior, which raises prices and hampers innovation.
The contact lens market is one example. Congress has passed legislation to ensure the full benefits of the free market for contact lenses, but now special interests are trying to convince legislators to weaken the law’s implementation — denying consumers choice and costing taxpayer dollars.
Congress should resist attempts to undermine the law.
Forty-one million Americans use contact lenses, spending roughly $4 billion annually. Unlike most medical prescriptions, eye care providers both write prescriptions and sell contacts to patients, creating a conflict of interest issue.
In order to prevent this and ensure choice and competition, in 2003 President Bush signed into law the bipartisan Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA), which requires eye care providers to automatically make copies of contact lens prescriptions available to their patients. This enables patients to shop for contact lenses wherever they want, including at other retailers or online. The FTC passed a rule in 2004 putting this crucial law into practice.