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OAA Opposes Contact Lens Consumer Protection Act 2006 PDF
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International News
Monday, 02 October 2006
The Opticians Association of America (OAA) announced on 28 September that it would actively oppose legislation now pending before Congress [S. 2480, H.R.5762] that seeks to drastically alter existing relationships between eye care practitioners (“ECPs”), consumers, and contact lens manufacturers.

In an electronic mail message to the organization’s membership Mark F. Cloer, President of OAA, stated: “The so-called ‘Contact Lens Consumer Protection Act of 2006’ will have a profound effect on what historically as been a cornerstone of best practice eye care, namely the reliance of contact lens consumers upon their eye care practitioners - ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians - to provide the best service and highest quality lenses available, at a fair price. By requiring that a contact lens manufacturer sell in a “nondiscriminatory manner” all its products to all distributors, the bill would effectively limit that manufacturer’s ability to conduct its business as it saw fit. For example, the bill’s vague and ambiguous language might curtail a manufacturer’s ability to withhold its products from unethical or inefficient ECPs or to provide volume discounts and special promotional offers that ECPs pass along to patients and customers. The end result is likely to be higher prices and uncertain levels of quality and service from ECPs who no longer need to conform to a manufacturer’s own standards.

Mr. Cloer encouraged all OAA members to immediately contact their U.S. Repre-sentative and two U.S. Senators urging the defeat of the bill. He concluded by observing: “To label this legislation as ‘Consumer Protection’ is just another example of ‘Inside the Beltway’ double talk that makes a mockery of the English language. Government interference on behalf of special interests promises to disrupt the existing system of contact lens distribution that, according to a 2005 study by the Federal Trade Commission, currently allows consumers ‘a wider-than-ever choice of channels through which to purchase their replacement contact lenses.’ Congress should heed the time honored advice that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’”