Court Deals Price-Fixing Blow To Contact Lens Makers

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal appeals court is dealing a blow to contact-lens makers who tried to set minimum charges for their products amid bitter price wars in the $4 billion industry.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Utah law banning policies that critics call price-fixing.

At least one major manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, has already moved away from the pricing programs that were designed to protect eye doctors from being undercut by retailers like Utah-based 1-800 Contacts.

The opinion handed down Monday upholds a lower-court decision in favor of the 2015 law that allowed 1-800 Contacts to reduce prices by up to $15 a box.

Contact lenses are prescribed by specific brands and the prescriptions are often filled at the optometrist’s office for full list prices set by the manufacturers.

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