Legal Memorandum: Dispensing Contact Lenses by Mail in MN

Issue: Under the laws of Minnesota, may a contact lens manufacturer dispense contact lenses by mail either directly to the consumer or to the consumer’s physician?

Area of Law: Administrative Law, Administrative Law & Regulation (Federal and State)
Keywords: Contact lens manufacturer; Contact lens dispensing services by mail; License requirements
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: Minn. Stat. § 148.56, subds. 2, 3; Minn. Stat. §§ 148.52—.62;
Date: 02/01/2001

           Although Minnesota law provides that it is unlawful for any person not licensed as an optometrist in the state to sell or solicit an order for the sale of corrective lenses in other than an established place of business, it further provides that those restrictions must not be construed to apply to "sales upon prescription from persons legally authorized by the laws of this state to examine eyes and prescribe glasses therefor."  Minn. Stat. § 148.56, subds. 2, 3 (1989); 223 Op. Atty. Gen. 238 (1932).  The statute is not clear on whether the solicitation of sales may be conducted by unlicensed firms or persons.

The research revealed no other relevant restrictions on contact lens dispensing, by mail or otherwise.  (For statutes relevant to the practice of optometry, see Minn. Stat. §§ 148.52—.62 (1989 & Supp. 1993).)  It thus appears that dispensing contact lenses in Minnesota upon a physician’s (or optometrist’s) prescription may be relatively free from statutory constraints.  The solicitation of orders, however, even from physicians or optometrists, may be subject to certain restrictions.


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