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LasikPlus FTC Settlement Details

Published Feb 21, 2024

LasikPlus (aka LCA-Vision Inc.) offered a $1.25MM settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in September of 2022 to resolve a dispute regarding its ‘starting at $250 per eye’ advertising promotion that the company ran for several years prior to March 2020.   The FTC ultimately ratified the settlement in March of 2023.

The FTC alleges that only 6.5% of consumers qualified for the promotion.  In fact, transactional prescription data published by The Vision Council, based on a survey of over 3.8 million people in the U.S., shows that 17.8% of consumers had prescriptions that fall within the prescription criteria of LasikPlus’ historical ‘Starting at $250 per eye’ promotional price.  This data is also consistent with world population data published by MarketScope, a leading source for market data, independent perspective, and objective analysis in today’s healthcare marketplace

LasikPlus maintains that the promotions at issue complied with decisions of the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau (the “NAD”) and various state Attorney General’s that have been in place for decades that a qualified pricing offer such as the one at issue here must be available to an “appreciable number” of consumers, citing the common industry standard of 10%.  This 10% standard for “up to” or “starting at” claims is also embodied in the Better Business Bureau Code of Advertising.

Despite the FTC’s “bait and switch” characterizations, there is absolutely no dispute that the Company’s affiliated physicians performed thousands of procedures at the promoted price, nor that the Company directed or influenced its staff or affiliated physicians not to perform such procedures. There is also no dispute that consumers knew the cost of the procedure available to them well in advance of having the procedure itself.

Interestingly, the FTC’s only alleged consumer ‘harm’ is ‘wasted time.’ As FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson noted in her dissent, the free preoperative consultations performed by LasikPlus on all consumers who are interested in LASIK (and the medical information provided to the consumer therefrom) did not constitute a waste of time and likely outweighs any potential injury that has been alleged.

In weighing the pros and cons of litigating the matter, LasikPlus considered (i) the deference historically bestowed upon the FTC by the courts, (ii) the financial costs of litigation, and (iii) the time and opportunity costs that such litigation would consume of LasikPlus’ internal resources.  Given the Company was successful over months-long negotiations with the FTC to reduce the scope of the settlement prohibitions to an acceptable level, LasikPlus concluded in its business judgment to settle the case, rather than advocate and litigate further.

The FTC is making the settlement funds available to certain individuals who did not qualify for the promotion and declined to proceed with LASIK at LasikPlus during the relevant time frames set forth in the settlement.

If you are one of those individuals identified by the FTC as eligible for a share of the settlement, you should have received notification directly from the FTC.

Information is available from the FTC by following this LINK TO FTC SITE