Costco Wholesale Corp. announced its opposition to a bill introduced by U.S. Senator John Cassidy (R-LA) that would increase costs for many Americans who wear contact lenses. The bill would make it more difficult for consumers to have their contact lens prescriptions filled by companies like Costco that offer lower prices than many independent eye doctors. It would also improperly pre-empt an independent examination of the contact lens industry currently being undertaken by the staff of the Federal Trade Commission.
In 2003, Congress passed the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, which allows contact lens wearers access to their prescriptions and enables them to shop at retail stores, warehouse clubs, or online providers for prices lower than their prescribers offer. The Act already provides verification requirements that exceed those necessary for prescription medicines, and the proposed bill would make the verification requirements for contact lenses even more onerous.
Costco currently operates 703 warehouses, including 492 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 90 in Canada, 36 in Mexico, 27 in the United Kingdom, 24 in Japan, 12 in Korea, 12 in Taiwan, eight in Australia and two in Spain. Costco also operates electronic commerce web sites in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea and Taiwan.