MILLICENT L. KNIGHT, O.D., CHC, FAARM
HEAD OF PROFESSIONAL AFFAIRS
POST OFFICE BOX 10157
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA 32247-0157
Right now a battle is being waged legislatively across this country challenging Johnson & Johnson’s unilateral pricing policy (UPP) established in July 2014. These policies were created to ensure that doctors and patients are charged fairly for our products; and, to date, have resulted in a reduced price for contact lenses by approximately 60% of patients.
The challenge to our policy is in the form of proposed state laws banning UPP on contact lens sales being brought forward by 1-800 CONTACTS under the guise of consumer protection.
While on the surface this may seem like a straightforward debate about a business pricing policy, the proponents of banning UPP are using this issue to continue their quest to call into question the ethics of what you do in the exam room as you fit contact lenses and make recommendations to patients. 1-800’s tactics include casting doubt on the ethics of optometrists selling what they prescribe and have even gone on record suggesting that “brand” not be part of a contact lens prescription. In testimony before state legislative committees, 1-800 representatives have suggested that there are “rumblings” about federal legislation prohibiting including brand on the contact lens prescription.
As an optometrist I am hoping that as you seek to understand the UPP issue, you will also see the bigger picture of what is being threatened by 1-800 – namely the right to exercise professional judgment in specifying that unique ocular medical device, a contact lens.
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care has created a video to help explain UPP and how simplified pricing affects you and your patients. I invite you to view this short (5 min) video at http://eifiles.com/acuvue/index.html. Feel free to share this with colleagues to aid in their understanding of this issue.
Your influence with legislators would be most helpful. Key points may include:
- Since the inception of UPP, prices for J&J products in my practice have come down.
- Simplified pricing prioritizes my time with patients on contact lens care and eye health.
- Contact lens fitting is complex and each prescription must include brand information to be complete and to assure patient safety.
- Price alone is not the best determinant in selecting contact lenses for my patients.
- This legislation has zero impact on patient choice in where to purchase their lenses.
As Head, Professional Affairs, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, I thank you for taking time to consider the importance of this issue for our profession. As a fellow optometrist who spent more than 25 years caring for patients and understands our profession’s commitment to ethical behavior, I thank you for taking a stand against those who would trivialize what we do.
Millicent L. Knight, OD, CHC, FAARM
Head of Professional Affairs
Vistakon ® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.