By Andrew F. Quinlan –
Contact lens wearers can breathe a sigh of relief as the lame-duck congressional session comes to an end. Despite their best efforts, lobbyists for the eye doctors have failed to attach the “Contact Lens Consumers Health Protection Act” to any must-pass legislation in the hopes of rolling back pro-consumer reforms that opened the contact lens market to competition and benefited millions of Americans.
There’s little time to relax, however. Special interests and their lobbyists will flock to the new Congress as soon as it is seated, looking for any opportunity to carve out crony benefits for themselves at the expense of the public.
Reforms enacted over a decade ago were a major success for contact lens consumers. They put a stop to shady prescriber practices that sought to trick patients into purchasing only overpriced brands which offered lucrative benefits for doctors.
Today, doctors are required to provide a copy of their prescription to patients without prompting, though some still like to “forget” until they are reminded. Nevertheless, it used to be common for doctors to not provide prescriptions, which are required in order to buy from third-party sellers like 1-800 Contacts, Walmart or Costco. Likewise, they would often fail to “verify” the prescription in a timely fashion, a legal requirement before orders can be fulfilled.