FTC at Odds with Congress by Publishing Contact Lens Rule: Patient Safety Advocates Call for Congressional Action to Prevent Implementation of Flawed Final Rule

The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (APS) today released the following statement regarding the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) publication of the Contact Lens Rule (Rule) in the Federal Register. The Rule was posted for Public Inspection on Friday, August 14th and published in the Federal Register today.

“Since the Federal Trade Commission released the text of the final Contact Lens Rule in June, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in both the House and Senate have taken action in an attempt to halt the Rule’s implementation due to concerns that it could lead to adverse health outcomes for patients and overly burden doctors, especially during the ongoing pandemic. The Federal Trade Commission’s publication of the Rule disregards the significant bipartisan, bicameral requests from Congress for the FTC to delay the rule. Therefore, we urge Congress to take action to protect patients from the troubling aspects of this Rule,” said Dr. Deanna Alexander, O.D., Chairwoman of the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety.

Since the FTC released the final amendments to the Contact Lens Rule in June, significant Congressional action has occurred to prevent the Rule’s implementation, but has not been heeded:

June 23, 2020: FTC final amendments to the Contact Lens Rule

June 30, 2020: Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) issue a statement calling for the passage of their Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act (H.R. 3975) as a legislative remedy to a portion of the FTC’s Rule.

July 15, 2020: The House Committee on Appropriations Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) funding bill includes report language directing the FTC to delay the effective and enforcement dates of the Rule

August 3, 2020: Ninety-four Members of the U.S. House of Representatives write to chamber leadership requesting action against the Rule in a COVID package or other legislation likely to become law soon

August 4, 2020: Seventeen United States Senators write to chamber leadership asking for their concerns regarding the Rule be addressed in COVID-19 relief legislation

APS works to advance policies that protect patient safety. The organization and its members have been active patient safety advocates throughout the FTC’s Contact Lens Rule process, including submitting written comments and testifying at various workshops. Last year, the organization, with the leadership of Rep. Bobby Rush and Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D., worked to offer bipartisan commonsense legislation, H.R. 3975, to address patient safety concerns associated with passive verification of contact lens prescriptions.


About APS

The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety, founded in 2018, advocates for eye health and safety and elevates the doctor-patient relationship – the essential foundation of personal health care decision making. Members of the Alliance for Patient Safety work together to raise awareness and protect public health. Advancing policy and collaboration between leading eye health advocates, vision innovators and trusted voices is essential to elevate patient care.

The Alliance is made up of patient safety advocates, eye doctors, contact lens manufacturers and insurers.

To become a local advocate or to get involved in protecting patient safety, visit www.patientsafetytoday.com.

Read the full press release.