On April 20, House Representatives Michael Burgess and Lisa Blunt Rochester introduced H.R. 2748, Contact Lens Prescription Verification Modernization Act. This bill revises the requirements for the verification of prescriptions related to the purchase of contact lenses. Specifically, online sellers of prescription contact lenses must provide consumers with a method to transmit a digital copy of their prescriptions to such sellers. Online sellers also must encrypt protected health information they send by email. Additionally, the bill prohibits any seller of prescription contact lenses from using telephone calls with an artificial or prerecorded voice (i.e., robocalls) to verify a consumer's prescription.
The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (HCAPS), one of whose principles is to, “Educate and inform policymakers, the media and the public about the importance of doctor-patient decision-making and respond to dangerous, abusive or harmful medical device marketing practices that undermine quality care or place patients at increased risk for harm,” and the American Optometric Association support this legislation. HCAPS notes that robocalls for contact lens verification can go to an incorrect phone number or provide prescription information and patient identification that doesn’t match the medical record. Under the current Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, if the practice cannot find and correct the information within the eight-hour time limit, the prescription is filled as is. (If you have tried to correct misinformation from a robocall, you know the time it takes and the frustration that results!)
While protecting consumers’ freedom of choice is important, ensuring that they can obtain contact lenses safely and correctly is critical. Thank you, Representatives Burgess, and Blunt Rochester!