By Jillian Lane Wyant –
Out of nearly 320 million people in America, roughly 41 million wear contact lenses in order to correct their vision. It’s a booming industry that brings in $7 billion each year and growing, and one that is not unfamiliar to powerful special interest groups fighting to monopolize the industry for their own benefit.
Let me shed some light on the situation at hand. In 2004, Congress enacted legislation that essentially put an end to the medical lobby’s monopoly over the contact lens industry. Before this time, where consumers purchased their contact lenses was entirely in the hands of their eye doctor. Due to the fact there was no law forcing doctors to give patients a copy of their prescriptions, the consumers were left to buy directly from the doctor’s offices at outrageously inflated prices.
In the eyes of the medical lobby, there was no downside to the monopoly; manufacturers and doctors alike were achieving huge financial success at the expense of others. Once this monopoly came to a sudden and abrupt halt in 2004, the medical lobby was forced to rethink their strategy.
Since the free market reform in 2004, competition within the contact lens industry has flourished, resulting in dramatically lower prices for the American consumer. Successful results that all like-minded Americans should be in support of, right? Wrong.
More than a decade later, the medical lobby is now looking to completely reverse the free market legislation that gave patients the freedom of choice with a new bill, known as the Contact Lens Consumer Health Protection Act (CLCHPA).