October 31, 2014

On Halloween, Let’s Take a Look at Contact Lens Safety

By Brian Noyes

“Brand names are tremendously valuable not only to brand-holders, but also to consumers. They allow us to reach for the product we trust and recognize as safe.” — GIPC Executive Vice President Mark Elliot

Safety is a critical component for the need to prevent counterfeit goods.

Recently, a coordinated effort was launched by several United States Government agencies to address the growing safety threat posed by counterfeit decorative contact lenses. “Operation Double Vision” was launched by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to coincide with the increase in use of counterfeit contact lenses around Halloween.

Contact lenses are medical devices that can only be prescribed by medical professionals. However, Operation Double Vision found that decorative counterfeit lenses were being sold for mere dollars without prescriptions at convenience stores, supermarkets and similar establishments. Selling these medical devices without a prescription is not only illegal, but also presents a significant public safety danger to consumers. Consumers are at risk when using a medical device without guidance from a medical professional or worse—receiving a substandard product.

Operation Double Vision’s seizure of more than 20,000 pairs of counterfeit and decorative contact lenses is yet another reminder of the health dangers posed by counterfeit goods.

With heightened awareness of the need for safe, legitimate products, GIPC recently launched the Global Brand Council (GBC). GBC’s focus is to promote trademarks and advocate for increased resources for government and law enforcement agencies understanding that consumer safety is at risk.

Whether it’s contact lenses, medicine, automobile parts, or electronic accessories, by promoting trademarks through state and local Chambers of Commerce around the United States and working with our international partners around the world, GBC’s focus on trademark and brand protection will protect consumers globally, benefit companies and our entire economy.

Subscribe for updates from GIPC