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    FTC sues 1-800 Contacts, but not for the reasons you think

     

    Lawsuit will not address patient safety

    Many in the optometric community think that the lawsuit was a long time coming, but the lawsuit does not address the community’s primary concern—patient safety.

    “First,” says Craig Steinberg, OD, JD, in Agoura Hills, CA, “understand that this lawsuit is not about selling contact lenses without a prescription. There may be a tendency for optometrists to jump to that conclusion because that’s what concerns them the most.”

    Jeffry Sonsino, OD, FAAO, chair of the AOA Contact Lens and Cornea Section (CLCS), noted the irony in the situation because 1-800 Contacts has often accused others in the industry of anticompetitive behavior.

    “It is quite interesting that 1-800 Contacts has falsely accused the AOA and contact lens manufacturers of anticompetitive practices while the whole time, according to the FTC, allegedly practicing anticompetitive practices itself,” he says.

    However, Williams says 1-800 Contacts has a long history of advocating for increased competition and consumer rights, pointing to the company’s support of the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) of 2004 and its fight against contact lens manufacturers’ unilateral pricing polices (UPP), which she calls “price fixing.”

    “1-800 Contacts strongly believes in a competitive contact lens marketplace and will continue to be a leading advocate for providing consumers with more choice, greater convenience, and lower prices,” she says.

    Colleen E. McCarthy
    Colleen McCarthy is a freelance writer based in the Cleveland area and a former editor of Optometry Times. She is a 2010 graduate of the ...

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