Satan’s Plan in Utah State Legislature

on February 14th, 2006 | Filed under Optoblog

I thought the state of Utah was already beyond the pale with their blatent anti-optometry ruling in Optometry vs. IHC. Now, certain Utah state legislators want to take it further.

Utah Senate Bill 176-SO1 wants to take away a common contact lens industry practice of private labeling. You know, the Biomedics 55-type lenses that are custom wrapped for different businesses. Mostly I just see the big box stores do this, but I suppose there are still private practice ODs out there doing it; however, I believe most private practice ODs should have already switched to silicone hydrogels exclusively for regular spherical lenses since they are healthier for the eye and usually have a better margin.

Anyway, the proposed law has already been recommended by the Business and Labor Committee. I find it ironic that the State legistlature has already done away with the mandatory seat belt use this session citing the notion that:

“This is a case of taking away a personal choice or freedom without sufficient cause,” [Senator] Christensen said.

Well, how about the nosey government getting in the way of a patient-doctor relationship? How about the patient’s right to refuse some private label? They can advise their doctor that they only want a lens available anywhere.

This is also a Darwinian matter. The doctors supporting private label schemes get selected against by savvy consumers while un-savvy consumers get selected against by getting trapped into a unilateral source.

Why didn’t they just make a law requiring contact lens patients to buy a full year supply up front instead of going somewhere else? If the legislature is really intent on benefitting patients, then they should think about the eye health of all those people over-wearing their contact lenses, getting eye diseases, all just to save a couple bucks. If they want to be consistent, then these Nazis Utah legislators in bed with 1800CL should enact laws to MAKE them buy a 1 year supply upon getting a CL Rx.

What’s comical is that the proposed bill:

19 . provides for certification of contact lenses with the Utah attorney general;
20 . requires the attorney general to maintain a listing of all brands of contact lenses that
21 have been certified with the attorney general; and
22 . provides penalties for violation of the certification provisions.

Won’t that be great! There are no monies appropriated to this bill, and in the fiscal note, they claim that “It is estimated that provisions of this bill can be implemented with existing resources.”
So the UT Attorney General staffers are going to do what a whole business called Tyler’s Quarterly does? I can already hear the cursing from the AG’s office about all the busy-work they’re going to have to do.

Let’s also scrutinize this sentence from the bill:

(1) “Alternative channels of distribution” means a mail order company, Internet retailer, pharmacy, buying club, department store, or mass merchandise outlet, without regard to whether it is associated with an individual authorized to prescribe contact lenses under this chapter.

Guess which Utah company the top 2 alternate channels describe? 1800CL. Which Utah company could have the clout to push a needless bill like this one? You guessed it.

This whole thing is a big sham. The only people who could possibly want to legislate this issue are 1800CL and their employees. If we have the freedom to choose to not wear a seat belt, then we also have the freedom to discuss with our doctor which brand of lens we’re going to try out. If (s)he persists in wanting to only Rx a private label, we also have the freedom to go somewhere else.

Next thing you know, they’re going to legislate that we can’t support our local grocery store. We’ll only be able to shop at Wal*Mart since their house brand of peanut butter is cheaper.

If you want to keep track of this bill’s progress, you can sign up for an e-mail notification.

BTW, the UT state senator who proposed this bill publicly revealed a “Health care” confict of interest.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Satan’s Plan in Utah State Legislature”

  1. These charactors forgot to include in their bill the private label contact lens solutions! What about that, huh?

  2. Now Bob Bennet is trying to do 1800’s bidding at the federal level:
    http://www.clspectrum.com/cls_breakingnews.aspx?tm=4/9/2006

    It looks like those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Private label lens market has been studied before:
    “1-800 Contacts tried to persuade the United States Congress and the Federal Trade Commission that contact lens manufacturers should have to sell all their lenses to it, using the same kinds of arguments they are now using in support of state legislation. The Federal Trade Commission conducted an exhaustive study of this issue and expressly rejected 1-800 Contacts’ arguments. The FTC found that the evidence does “not support the conclusion that these restrictions on distribution harm competition and consumers…” -from http://www.coopervision.com/legislativenews/

    What is the deal with these Utah law makers and their inability to understand free market economics. Maybe 1800 should look at their business plan instead of legislation.