Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Public Law (12/06/2003)

Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act - (Sec. 2) Requires a contact lens prescriber (a person permitted under State law to issue prescriptions for contact lenses) to provide a patient with a copy of their contact lens prescription, whether or not requested by the patient, and verify the prescription's accuracy, or make necessary corrections, to a contact lens seller or any person designated by the patient. Prohibits a prescriber from: (1) requiring patients to purchase contact lenses from the prescriber; (2) charging an additional fee for a copy of the prescription; (3) requiring the patient to sign a waiver; and (4) disclaiming liability or responsibility for the accuracy of the eye examination.

(Sec. 3) Allows a prescriber to withhold the contact lens prescription until the prescriber receives payment or proof of insurance coverage only if the prescriber also requires immediate payment from a patient not needing any ophthalmic goods.

(Sec. 4) Allows a seller to fill a prescription for contact lenses only when: (1) a seller receives a contact lens prescription directly or by facsimile; (2) a seller verifies a prescription by direct communication with the prescriber; or (3) the prescriber fails to respond to the seller within eight business hours after being contacted by the seller with the prescription information. Requires a seller to maintain a record of all such communication with a patient or a prescriber.

(Sec. 5) Declares that a contact lens prescription shall expire on the date specified by the law of the State in which it is written, but not less than one year after the issue date of the prescription. Permits an exception for a patient's ocular health.

(Sec. 6) Prohibits advertising that represents that contact lenses may be obtained without a prescription.

(Sec. 8) Requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prescribe rules to carry out this Act.

(Sec. 9) States that any violation of this Act shall be treated as a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act regarding unfair or deceptive acts or practices.

(Sec. 10) Requires the FTC to report to Congress on: (1) exclusive relationships between prescribers or sellers and contact lens manufacturers and the impact such relationships have on competition; (2) differences between online and off-line sellers of contact lenses; (3) contact lens prescriptions that specify brand name and their impact on competition; (4) the FTC eyeglasses rule, its enforcement, and its impact on competition; and (5) any other issue that affects competition in the sale of contact lenses.