In 2014, major contact lens manufacturers announced the implementation of retail price floors for leading contact lens brands, including popular brands such as Acuvue 1-Day Moist, Acuvue Oasys, Dailies AquaComfort Plus, Dailies Total 1 and Ultra. The mandate is widely criticised by consumers as a move by contact lens manufacturers to protect sales margins.
Issues of consumer health and choice closely intertwined
The more vocal eye care practitioners (ECPs) and related trade associations have voiced their support for the UPP. Contact lens online retailers, on the other hand, are doing whatever they can to obtain an injunction. Here’s the long and short of the many arguments made for and against the UPP – ECPs see the UPP as a preventative measure against showrooming, arguing that shopping around (particularly on the internet) undermines consumer health as patients would bypass regular eye checks and optical fittings. On the other hand, online retailers fear losing their cost advantage, thus protesting against what they see as a restriction of consumers’ choice. Consumers have voiced their dismay, many of whom are less likely to replace their lenses as frequently as before due to price increases, which compromises the safety of contact lens use.