Article Date: 9/1/2002

Practice Pulse
Tips, Trends & News You Can Use

ICO RECEIVES SINGLE LARGEST PLEDGE
Kattouf Gift to Support Scholarships and Educational Resources

Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) received a $150,000 pledge, the largest single commitment by a living person, from ICO alumnus and Optometric Management practice management editor, Dr. Richard Kattouf. The gift will specifically support student scholarships and educational resources.

From left to right, front row: Dr. Charles F. Mullen (president of ICO), Dr. Richard S. Kattouf, Jacqueline Kattouf (wife of Dr. Kattouf) and Dr. Thomas Lawless, board of trustees chairman, ICO.

"It is imperative that all students be given the opportunity to enter the fields of science and health care," said Dr. Kattouf. "My financial pledge to ICO was made due to my love of the profession and the institution. I want it to act as a springboard for alumni from all optometric institutions to consider pledges to their respective colleges."

ICO recognized Dr. Kattouf's service to the college and the profession by honoring him with the Chair-man's and President's award this spring. He also gave the commencement address to the ICO class of 2002, which he called "one of the highlights" of his 30-year career.

In 1986, Dr. Kattouf designed his 8,000-square-foot clinic and optical company in Warren, Ohio, and today, it's one of the largest practices in the country. In addition, his consulting companies for O.D.s, M.D.s and optometric technicians serve thousands of O.D.s and M.D.s. "My management companies are full scope in that we teach clinical skills, retail optical management, appraise practices, broker practices and perform all types of professional negotiations," says Kattouf.

Dr. Kattouf's children both graduated from ICO. His daughter, Valerie, is a professor at ICO and a practicing optometrist at the College's Illinois Eye Institute.

His son, Richard Kattouf II, O.D., is in private practice with him. ICO named Primary Eye Care Suite #1 at the college's clinical arm, the Illinois Eye Institute, in honor of the Kattouf family.

CONTACT LENS RXS = PHARMACEUTICAL RXS
New Minnesota Law Requires Rx Specifics

Contact lens prescriptions in Minnesota now have the same status as pharmaceutical prescriptions. The new law, which went into effect August 1, requires a prescription with specific parameters, including brand name, measurements and an expiration date.

The Minnesota Optometric Association worked with Minnesota legislators on this law to protect patients from unregulated contact lens retailers and to ensure a patient's right to a prescription after completion of an eye exam and proper contact lens fitting. The law states that the expiration date of the prescription is left up to the clinical judgement of the doctor.

According to the new law, it's illegal for anyone to dispense contact lenses without a prescription for longer than the time the prescription is valid and to dispense different lenses than what is prescribed. Minnesota's new law also specifies that failure to comply with specific sections shall be grounds for disciplin-ary action by the board of optometry or the board of medical practice.

Will other state optometric associations follow suit? What do you think? We'll keep our feelers out and let you know. 

COMPANY WILL SOON MARKET NEW LENSES
1-800 Purchases Asian Manufacturer

1-800 Contacts has acquired IGEL, a Singapore manufacturer of contact lenses. According to Jonathan Coon, CEO of 1-800, the acquisition will allow the company to meet the needs of nearly 1 million 2-week disposable patients annually.

Coon says that 1-800 will soon begin testing new lens and packaging designs and setting up marketing and referral programs to start national marketing of IGEL-made lenses by Q1 of 2003.

"Our goal was to find a manufacturer that makes FDA-approved lenses, produces lenses preferred to the leading brands of 2-week disposables, has enough capacity to serve our needs and has the ability to create innovative new products in the future," says Coon.

Coon also notes that 1-800 will offer customers the opportunity to try an alternative eyecare provider and product and to invest in efforts to "address the anti-consumer practices endorsed by some participants in our industry."

OHTS SEES BENEFITS TO TREATING HIGH IOP
Risks Weighed in OH Treatments

The Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS) found that medical treatment to lower IOP will prevent glaucoma in some patients. To treat ocular hypertension (OH), O.D.s should consider a different risk/benefit ratio than they do for conventional glaucoma patients.

"There are risks in ocular hypertension, but they are not high," says Robert D. Fechtner, M.D., director of the Glaucoma Division, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. "There is little justification for treating an ocular hypertensive with a drug that causes side effects."

Says Kuldev Singh, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Glaucoma Service at the Stanford University School of Medicine, when treating patients with mild disease or no disease, "it's important that safety and tolerability be given first priority over IOP lowering efficacy."

He says that a drug such as unoprostone isopropyl ophthalmic solution 0.15% (Rescula), "which is generally safe and well-tolerated," make it suitable for such patients.

NEW APPROVALS

Menicon Lens Gets U.S. Approval for Continuous Wear

The U.S. FDA approved an application filed by Menicon Co., Ltd., allowing it to market its Menicon Z rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses for up to 30 days of continuous wear. According to the company, the approval also includes spherical, custom toric and multifocal designs.

Hidenari Tanaka, president of Menicon Co., Ltd., said, "It's the first time an FDA approval has been given for continuous wear of up to 30 days for [an] RGP contact lens material."

The Menicon Z material was first introduced into the U.S. market in December 1996 for daily wear and was approved for up to 7 days of extended wear in July 2000. In February 2001, Menicon Z was CE approved for up to 30 days in Europe. For additional information on the Menicon Z lens, visit www.menicon.com.

Six-Dollar Absorbable Plug

The FDA recently approved Oasis Medical, Inc.'s Soft Plug Extended Duration absorbable plug, which is designed to provide comfort for patients suffering from post-surgical dry eye.

You insert the plug, which lasts up to 3 months, in the canaliculus with a jeweler's forceps. The plug, priced at $6.00 a piece (20 pair per box), is available in 0.4 mm and 0.5 mm sizes.

According to the company, the Extended Duration absorbable plug is an efficient and economical treatment for intermediate dry eye. Oasis also offers Soft Plug silicone and collagen plugs.

Visit www.oasismedical.com for more information on Oasis Medical's new plug.

CORRECTION:

July 2002 Practice Pulse item, "Corning Restructures" (page 16), which referenced elimination of jobs and early retirement packages, was relevant to Corning Incorporated as a whole and did not have any impact on Corning's Ophthalmic business. We regret any confusion this may have caused.

RULE WEIGHS PRIVACY AND ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE
Health and Human Services Publishes Final HIPAA Privacy Rule

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently published the final Privacy Rule as required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

Under the final rule, healthcare entities must obtain an individual's prior written authorization to use the individual's protected health information for marketing purposes, except for a face-to-face encounter or a communication involving a promotional gift of nominal value.

The rule prohibits selling patient lists for the marketing activities of a third party without the individual's written authorization. Treatment options and a doctor's own health­related products and services are not considered marketing.

While all healthcare providers must provide notice of their privacy practices to their patients, the final rule requires that providers make a good faith -- not mandatory -- effort to obtain a patient's written acknowledgement of the notice. HHS notes that mandatory consent forms would inhibit patient access to healthcare.

The final rule allows incidental disclosure of health information if minimum safeguard requirements are met. So doctors may use office sign-in sheets and hospital bedside charts. They may also converse with patients and healthcare staff without fear of violating the rule if overheard by a passerby.

The privacy rule provides parents with new rights to control the health information about their children who are minors, with limited exceptions based on state or other applicable law and professional practices.

Most healthcare entities must comply with the rule by April 14, 2003.

HHS has published a HIPAA fact sheet on its Web site at http://aspe.hhs.gov/admnsimp/final/pvcfact2.htm. You can find another factsheet on the final rule at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2002pres/20020809.html.

NEW HEADQUARTERS
Allergan Spinoff Claims New Turf

Advanced Medical Optics, Inc. (AMO), the maker of ophthalmic surgical devices and contact lens care products, has located its global headquarters in a new three-story, 171,000-square-foot facility in Santa Ana, Calif.

The company, which was recently spun off from Allergan, cited the pool of ophthalmic industry talent in the Orange County area as a major reason for its choice. 

www.aoa.org/eyeonnutrition

The American Optometric Association (AOA) and the Vitamin Nutrition Information Service have joined together and developed a new online dietary assessment tool, called Eye on Nutrition, for you and your patients. The site, found at www.aoa.org/eyeonnutrition, features a quiz that reveals a person's behavior patterns, eye health history and dietary habits.

The program evaluates your responses and provides you with personalized tips on how you can improve your behavior and your diet to protect your eyes from developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. The site also provides a link to resources such as nutrient functions and food sources and their connection to eye disease.

CIBA SURVEY
Where Do You Get Your Information?

You hear colleagues discussing various topics all the time. But do you ever stop and wonder where they're getting their facts? Well wonder no more -- because a recent CIBA Vision e-mail survey of U.S. eyecare professionals found out where you and your colleagues are getting your information.

When asked to select the single most important source of information, 31% of respondents chose professional journals; 24% chose manufacturer sales representatives, professional education courses and seminars; and 21% selected conversations with peers.

According to the survey, the types of articles most likely read (in order of interest) are: clinical management advice articles about new lenses, clinical studies comparing lens performance, practice management advice about new lenses and roundtable discussions and interviews with leading contact lens practitioners.

NEW PROGRAM
Consumer Education Program Launched

Vistakon, a Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., recently launched the Acuvue Eye Health Advisor (AEHA) Program as an educational platform for consumers of all ages. The AEHA Program boosts awareness of the importance of annual eye exams through literature and promotional materials and also encourages parents to bring their children in for back-to-school eye exams to ensure that they're ahead of the learning curve. "The campaign shows how Vistakon is committed to advancing the science of sight through education and innovation," says Philip R. Keefer, president, Vistakon Americas.

ALPHAGAN DISCONTINUED
Allergan to Concentrate on Newer Alphagan P

Allergan has decided to discontinue the manufacture, sale and marketing of Alphagan, 0.2% and concentrate instead on the improved brand of the product, Alphagan P, 0.15%. Adoption of Alphagan P has been overwhelming, says the company. Most eyecare professionals report preferring Alphagan P and don't see the need for both products.

Two 12-month clinical studies found that Alphagan P is as effective as Alphagan but has lower rates of some adverse effects, including reduced incidence of ocular allergy. Alphagan P is the first glaucoma drug to use the preservative Purite.

CL COMPANY TO INCREASE PROFITS
B&L Announces Plans

Bausch & Lomb recently announced plans to increase operating profitability and realize its previously announced goal of mid-teen annual operating margins by 2004.

B&L's plan includes plant closures and consolidations, manufacturing efficiencies and yield enhance-ments, distribution initiatives, the development of a global information technology platform and the elimination of roughly 450 jobs worldwide.

O.D. NOTEBOOK

PEOPLE & PROMOTIONS

Shamir announces new VP. Shamir Insight named Mark Becker to the position of vice president of sales. He's now responsible for the company's expanding national sales force.

Schell joins Medical Eye. The managed care firm Medical Eye recently hired Michael Schell as vice president of sales. In his new position, Schell will be responsible for managing sales for the company's vision care services in 10 western states.

Cooper announces elections. The Cooper Companies' board of directors recently elected A. Thomas Bender, its current CEO and president, to the additional position of chairman. The board also elected Allan E. Rubenstein, M.D., to the new position of vice chairman and lead director.

Staar selects new vp. Staar Surgical has named Nick Curtis as its senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Mischik moves from Rodenstock to Wise. Wise Optical Vision Group has named Mark J. Mischik as its director of sales.

COMPANY NEWS

Epicon manufacturer makes changes. UltraVision, which makes Epicon contact lenses for keratoconus, closed its manufacturing facility in Quebec while it evaluates restructuring scenarios. According to the company, the manufacturing facility in Canada didn't supply disposable lenses to UltraVision International, so the closure has no impact on operations there.

InSite and B&L agree to develop bacterial infection treatment. InSite Vision Incorporated and Bausch & Lomb have signed a licensing agreement to develop InSite's product candidate ISV-403 for the treatment of ocular bacterial infections.

ISV-403 combines a fourth-generation fluoroquinolone, licensed from Japan's SSP, Co., Ltd., with InSite's patented drug delivery system, DuraSite.

Under the agreement, InSite will clinically develop ISV-403 through NDA approval from the FDA and B&L will assume responsibility for subsequent commercial manufacturing and marketing.

SOLA reorganizes. SOLA International recently announced that its marketing organization will now be divided into three groups: brand marketing, customer and lab marketing and marketing services, all based in Petaluma, Calif.

Its sales organization will also be divided into three groups: the wholesale lab group, the chain retail group and the group responsible for sales to managed care wholesale labs in the northeast and in Canada.

 


Optometric Management, Issue: September 2002