Costco sides with Utah in contact lens price fixing lawsuit

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SALT LAKE CITY — Warehouse store giant Costco is siding with the state of Utah in a lawsuit filed over a bill that bans price-fixing of contact lenses.

In a motion filed Monday in federal court and obtained by FOX 13, Costco Wholesale seeks to intervene in a series of lawsuits filed by contact lens manufacturers against the state over Senate Bill 169, which was signed into law by Governor Gary Herbert last month.

Court records show U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson granted Costco’s motion to intervene. Former federal judge Paul Cassell is representing 1-800-CONTACTS, which is also siding with the state.

Alcomb Laboratories, Bausch & Lomb and Johnson & Johnson have sued the state over SB169, which prohibits contact lens makers from setting a minimum price for lenses or discriminating against sellers who offer them at a lower price. The companies allege the bill benefits companies like 1-800-CONTACTS, which spoke in favor of the bill.

Read the filing by Costco Wholesale here:

The Utah Attorney General’s Office has said it expects the three lawsuits over SB169 to be consolidated into one in U.S. District Court. A hearing on a motion to halt SB169 from going into effect has been scheduled for May 5.