French opticians under pressure
Monday, December 16 2013 | 00 h 00 min | News
If it passes, the French government’s draft law on consumer issues may have strong repercussions in the optical industry.
The French government has been upfront: the stated objective of the draft law, which is currently in its second reading in the National Assembly, is to get French people to save by expanding the distribution of lenses and contact lenses, namely to e-commerce. According to Benoît Hamon, Minister for the Economy and Finance, Internet sales of optical products would represent “about a billion euros in purchasing power” for the French people. The minister expects prices to drop by 30 to 40 percent.
An amendment to the draft law asks that the initial dispensing of corrective lenses and contact lenses be subject to a medical prescription. Another amendment requires that the pupillary distance be indicated on the prescription in order to encourage the development of the online sale of eyewear. Furthermore, consumers would be able to purchase contact lens care products in supermarkets—not just in pharmacies.
The French government justifies this new draft law by saying that, in all of Europe, the French people spend the most on eyewear and contact lenses—$118 (81 euros) a year. Nearly three million French people do not purchase glasses because they are too expensive.