Congress is looking to amend the way contact lens retailers verify contact lens prescriptions. A bipartisan bill introduced into the United States House of Representatives on July 25th seeks to update the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act. Specifically, the bill would “prohibit prescription verification made via robocall and establish a paper trail by instead requiring that online sellers use direct communication—a live phone call, fax or email—to confirm prescriptions,” according to the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety, an industry-backed advocacy group that supports the measure.
As it currently stands, online contact lens retailers must verify the validity of contact lens prescriptions with the patients’ doctors. But that verification currently permits the use of robocalls, a method the Alliance criticizes, saying the accuracy of a prescription includes several specifications, making it too complicated for an automated phone system. A representative from the group added that the current system “leaves patients at risk of being provided incorrect prescriptions that can lead to adverse health conditions.”
In May the Federal Trade Commission proposed supplemental rulemaking that acknowledged the industry’s complaints regarding robocall prescription verification. Now, the updated legislation aims to require online sellers use a live phone call, fax or e-mail. It’s co-sponsors, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), are both members of the Consumer Protection and Commerce and House Health committees.