APS Members Brief Congress on Robocall and Contact Lens Concerns

Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety Members Brief Congressional Offices on Concerns Regarding Robocalls and Substitution of Contact Lenses

Advocates in Washington for AOA Fly-In

(WASHINGTON) – Today, members of the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (APS) visited nearly a dozen congressional offices. During these meetings, APS advocates briefed Members of Congress and their staffs on problems that vision care patients face including online sellers’ problematic use of robocalls and the medical dangers and safety threats posed by the substitution of lenses that have not been prescribed to a patient.

From left to right: Dr. Jim DeVleming (AOA), Dr. Dorothy Hitchmoth (AOA), Dr. Deanna Alexander (Chair, Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety), Clay Arnold (CooperVision), Dr. Mike Mayers (Johnson & Johnson Vision)

The 2004 Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act requires that all third-party sellers must verify prescriptions with an eye doctor and fill the prescription as written. However, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Contact Lens Rule allows verification to be done via robocalls. Oftentimes, information relayed in these robocalls is garbled or do not align with a patient’s chart—making it difficult, or even impossible, to correctly identify the patient and proper prescription.

More than 45 million Americans rely on contact lenses – U.S. Food and Drug Administration Class II and Class III regulated medical devices – for safe and effective vision correction. Contact lenses are more complex than they appear, having differing shapes, strengths, and water contents. There are no generics. Substitution of lenses not as prescribed by the patient’s doctor can lead to serious health complications, including infections and other sight-threatening conditions, such as corneal edema, ulcers, and neovascularization.

Dr. Deanna Alexander, Chairwoman of the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety, said, “Access to contact lenses should be fair and safe for patients while preserving the doctor-patient relationship, just as Congress intended. The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety is committed to working with lawmakers and regulators to address the FTC Contact Lens Rule verification loophole that puts patients’ eye health and safety at risk.”

From left to right: Dr. Deanna Alexander (Chair, Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety), Dr. Mary Anne Murphy (VSP), Dr. Jeff Sonsino (AOA), Dr. Mike Mayers (Johnson & Johnson Vision), Travis Rush (Sightbox), Dr. Gary Orsborn (CooperVision) & Dr. Dorothy Hitchmoth (AOA)

The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety has made it a priority to close loopholes within the existing verification process and prevent the dangerous sale of counterfeit lenses and the substitution of lenses to reduce the risk of preventable vision loss.

Read the full press release here

The Alliance was founded in 2018 to advocate for patient safety and to protect and defend the doctor-patient relationship – the essential foundation of personalized health care decision making. For more information, please visit www.PatientSafetyToday.com.