Alcon recently received a ruling from the court in its attempt to block the enforcement of Utah’s Contact Lens Consumer Protection Act. The Act prohibits various types of commercial practices by contact lens manufacturers, including minimum advertised pricing (MAP) and unilateral pricing policies (UPP) on contact lenses.
Alcon is extremely disappointed in the court’s decision to allow the Utah law to remain in effect, as the company believes it violates the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. Alcon was the first company to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah challenging the law and seeking a preliminary injunction against its enforcement. When the District Court denied Alcon’s motion for preliminary injunction, permitting the law to take effect, Alcon appealed to the Tenth Circuit.
Alcon strongly believes that its UPP generated significant procompetitive benefits for consumers, eye care professionals (ECPs), and the market for vision care products, including, but not limited to: 1) encouraging ECPs to invest in learning about products covered by the UPP and educating their patients about the advantages of these products; 2) enhancing access to UPP products for consumers; 3) minimizing the ability of any contact lens provider to take advantage of efforts to educate patients about UPP products; 4) encouraging innovation in new contact lens technologies; and 5) fostering relationships between ECPs and their patients.
Alcon was the first manufacturer to implement UPP in support of the introduction of DAILIES TOTAL1® Water Gradient Contact Lenses in 2013. We believe cutting-edge technology, such as DAILIES TOTAL1, requires additional time and effort to learn about new contact lens innovations and to educate patients about their advantages, in addition to fitting, prescribing and follow-up as appropriate. Alcon’s efforts demonstrate its commitment to working with ECPs to improve patient and practice outcomes.
However, Alcon believes that continuing its challenge to the Utah law can distract from efforts to serve customers to the best of its ability. Accordingly, Alcon is ending its UPP, effective immediately, to avoid maintaining the competitive imbalance the Utah law introduces between Utah contact lens retailers and customers in other states.
Alcon remains committed to supporting ECPs and patients through its differentiated portfolio and innovative partnerships including:
Ongoing investment in breakthrough technologies that advance patient eye health;
Continuing to provide ECPs with simplified single column pricing for its latest contact lens innovations;
Investing in patient programs such as DAILIES CHOICE, which provide patients access to the latest technological advances in lenses, through high value consumer rebates;
Developing unique and custom new packaging, specifically for the US market, which will begin rolling out in 2017;
Enhancing and investing in patient education and awareness about the advantages of contact lenses for vision correction through significant investment in direct-to-consumer advertising;
Further developing and providing ongoing training for our Vision Care sales force, which provides both patient and product education to practitioners; and
Supporting major initiatives that raise awareness about the importance of annual eye exams, including committing a total of $4 million to Think About Your Eyes since 2014
Alcon is passionate about working with eye care professionals to help patients see, look and feel their best, and looks forward to continuing to inform and inspire proactive eye care.