The Truth About Eyewash

In a perfectly normal world, your writer, Mark Maremont, might have entered a Boston retail outlet last week and found a 12-ounce container of Opti-Free Disinfecting Solution for $7.99 and two-thirds of an ounce of Opti-Free Rewetting Drops at $5.99. Instead, Maremont walked into his favorite store and found both products at $6.99. He then found a consultant who called this "sneaky marketing." Throw in a clever headline ("Eyeway robbery?" News: Analysis & Commentary, Feb. 27), and Maremont had exposed the rascals to the world.

The truth of the matter is that it costs roughly three-quarters as much, under stringent sterile-manufacturing requirements, to make the smaller bottle as it does the larger one. This is, in turn, properly reflected in our prices to the trade. The further truth is that many retailers discount the 12-ounce Opti-Free Disinfecting Solution because it is a high-volume seller and builds traffic. Sometimes, they also take a larger-than-normal margin on the slower-moving Rewetting Drops. Surely you are aware that these decisions are completely beyond the manufacturer's control.

E.H. Schollmaier

President & CEO

Alcon Laboratories Inc.

Fort Worth

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