The following press release is an important reminder that ECPs don’t have to continue to “take it on the chin” from Vision Plans. While the described suit is a supply-side dispute, ECPs have a voice, as the Illinois Optometric Association is demonstrating.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Acuity Optical Laboratories has filed a Federal Antitrust Petition against managed vision care provider Davis Vision. The lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois on July 29, 2014, alleges “violations of federal and state antitrust laws … by requiring optometrists and opticians to exclusively use Davis Vision’s ophthalmic lens manufacturing laboratories for all of Davis Vision’s members’ manufacturing orders of prescription eyeglass lens sales …”
The complaint accuses Davis Vision of obtaining “monopoly power … in … Chicago … in the area of ophthalmic lens manufacturing.” The complaint states that Acuity Optical Laboratories, “… and other similarly situated ophthalmic lens manufacturers, face irreparable harm, which has already resulted in many private ophthalmic lens manufacturers being forced to close down, if Davis Vision’s unlawful anti-competitive practices are not stopped …”
Davis Vision has until Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, 60 days from the filing of the petition, to reply with an answer to the complaint or a motion to dismiss. Davis Vision has received the complaint and has yet to file a response.
Subsequent to this antitrust filing, the Illinois Optometric Association (IOA) polled its approximately 1,200 members, of whom “well over 100, close to 150” signed a petition stating that they are in support of Acuity’s Federal Antitrust petition against Davis Vision, IOA Executive Director Michael Horstman said. “We believe it’s a patient-choice issue,” Horstman told VMail. “Patients have a right to have a choice of where they get their glasses. Doctors should be able to provide the best service and glasses and not be restricted by insurance companies.”
A spokesperson for Acuity Optical Laboratories told VMail that the company was able to obtain approximately 50 additional signatures to those already provided by the IOA, and that Acuity plans to send the signed petition to the Illinois Attorney General’s office next week asking it also to bring suit against Davis Vision.