AC Lens Submits Comments and Recommendations to FTC Regarding Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act

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Dr. Peter Clarkson, President of Columbus, OH based AC Lens, submitted formal comments and recommendations to the FTC today in response to the FTCÂ?s request for comments related to the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, which the FTC announced on January 30, 2004.

Dr. Peter Clarkson, President of Columbus, OH based AC Lens, submitted formal comments and recommendations to the FTC today in response to the FTC’s request for comments related to the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, which the FTC announced on January 30, 2004.

Dr. Clarkson’s comments highlighted several areas where the FTC could alter the proposed rule to make it easier for consumers to purchase contact lenses from alternative sources such as Internet and mail order contact lens firms. Dr. Clarkson recommended that the FTC should change the definition of “business hours” to include Saturdays since most ophthalmic practices are open on Saturdays, and this would allow AC Lens to offer customers faster prescription verification and order delivery.

The FTC also solicited comments on “Private Label” lenses, which some eye doctors prescribe in order to lock patients into purchasing those lenses from the eye doctor or a specific retail outlet because the manufacturer of these “Private Label” lenses does not make the lenses available to alternative channels, such as Internet and mail order. This practice generally leads to higher prices for consumers because there is no price competition on these products. Fortunately, companies who manufacture these lenses often have a generic equivalent that can be purchased at a discount through mail order companies and the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act allows substitution of generics for the “Private Label” lenses that the eye doctor prescribed.

Dr. Clarkson also pointed out a disturbing development in the ophthalmic industry where “Prescriber Only” brands of lenses were being promoted to eye doctors as a way of “control the purchase price and keep 100% of the profits.” Dr. Clarkson commented, “These lenses are clearly anti-consumer – there is very little product innovation, the main reason a doctor would prescribe such a lens is to try and force the patient to buy the lenses from the eye doctor and not from discount channels.”

Dr. Clarkson summarized the comments he submitted as helping the FTC to tackle the challenge of fostering competition in the contact lens industry while ensuring that the health of contact lens wearers is not compromised. “AC Lens is committed to working within the new rules and hopes to partner with other members of the eye care industry to better serve patients and customers.”

The full text of Dr. Clarkson’s comments as well as the full text of the FTC’s proposed Contact Lens Rule (Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, 15 U.S.C. 7601 et seq.16 C.F.R. Part 315: Contact Lens Rule16 C.F.R. Part 456: Ophthalmic Practice Rules) will be available on the FTC’s website (http://www.ftc.gov/). For more information, or copies of Dr. Clarkson’s comments, please contact: Philip Dietrich at 614-921-9857.

About AC Lens

Arlington Contact Lens Service, Inc. (AC Lens), sells brand name contact lenses directly to consumers via its website http://www.aclens.com and toll-free telephone 1-888-248-LENS. Operating from a custom-designed call-center and warehouse facility in Hilliard, Ohio, the company has been selling contact lenses online since 1996 and has established a reputation as an on-line leader in service, convenience, and discount prices for consumers.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Philip Dietrich

AC Lens

614-921-9857

Fax: 614-921-9866

http://www.aclens.com/

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Philip Dietrich
AC LENS
614-921-9857
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