AAO testimony challenges 'passive verification'

Washington, DC-Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) member Oliver D. Schein, MD, MPH, MBA, called the practice of passive verification a flaw in the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumer Act (FCLCA).

Washington, DC-Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) member Oliver D. Schein, MD, MPH, MBA, called the practice of passive verification a flaw in the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumer Act (FCLCA).

"The academy believes [passive verification] lowers the bar for patient safety and opens the door for prescription verification failures that can ultimately result in patient harm," Dr. Schein said. He added that, in the interest of patient safety, contact lens prescriptions should be positively verified before being dispensed to the user.

Dr. Schein asserted that, since the FCLCA went into effect in August 2004, dispensers have logged numerous verification abuses that place contact lens sales ahead of patient safety, He cited a warning letter sent by the FTC in October 2005 to 1-800 Contacts Inc. resulting from frequent complaints about potential violations. Additionally, under the FCLCA, the FTC was required to study antitrust concerns in the sale of prescription contact lenses. The February 2005 study concluded: "It does not support the hypothesis that sellers are able to limit competition or harm consumers by charging higher prices for limited distribution or private label lenses."