One of the cornerstones of a healthy economic marketplace is that consumers can shop around for discounts, sales, and competitive pricing for the products they need. In the case of disposable contact lens customers, a price-fixing scheme allegedly entered into by several retail players eliminated this freedom for customers looking to refill their contact lens supplies.
Consumers who bought disposable contact lenses sold by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Alcon Vision, ABB Concise Optical Group, Bausch & Lomb, and CooperVision between June 1, 2013, and Dec. 4, 2018, may be eligible to collect payment from a $75 million combined settlement reached recently.
Alcon and J&J Vision are accused of violating federal laws by conspiring to artificially ramp up the cost of contact lenses. According to the suit, the two companies worked with CooperVision, ABB, and Baruch & Lomb to install unilateral pricing policies, creating an artificial minimum retail price for the lenses.
Consumers claimed the alleged price-fixing conspiracy led to the elimination of any discounting and the restraining of competitive pricing for disposable contact lenses. Plaintiffs say this manipulation forced customers to pay the same base price no matter how they obtained their lenses. Plaintiff lawyers estimated up to 40 million customers were affected by the scheme.
J&J Vision denies any wrongdoing, stating the company believes its conduct was appropriate. Still, the company agreed to settle for $55 million to end the antitrust case, marking the biggest settlement in the class action.
Separately, Alcon Vision settled for $20 million. CooperVision, ABB, and Bausch & Lomb settled for a collective total of $43.2 million. Each company denied liability.
The J&J Vision and Alcon settlement classes include US residents who purchased disposable contact lenses subject to a unilateral pricing policy. Class members may qualify for a proportional share of the total settlement funds, depending on how many lenses they bought during the Class period. Class members will have to show proof of purchase.
To learn more about the settlement details, visit the settlement page.