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April 13, 2016 at 5:17 PM EDT

Costco Wholesale Corporation Opposes New Bill Restricting Competition in Contact Lens Sales

ISSAQUAH, WA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/13/16 -- Costco Wholesale Corporation ("Costco" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: COST) today announced its opposition to a bill introduced by U.S. Senator John Cassidy (R-LA) that would increase costs for many Americans who wear contact lenses. The bill would make it more difficult for consumers to have their contact lens prescriptions filled by companies like Costco that offer lower prices than many independent eye doctors. It would also improperly pre-empt an independent examination of the contact lens industry currently being undertaken by the staff of the Federal Trade Commission.

In 2003, Congress passed the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, which allows contact lens wearers access to their prescriptions and enables them to shop at retail stores, warehouse clubs, or online providers for prices lower than their prescribers offer. The Act already provides verification requirements that exceed those necessary for prescription medicines, and the proposed bill would make the verification requirements for contact lenses even more onerous.

Richard Chavez, Senior Vice President over Costco optical services, noted: "While many of our over 52 million U.S. cardholders enjoy the convenience of examinations by independent eye doctors with offices in our warehouses, some bring us prescriptions from other doctors. They do so for the value and convenience that we offer. We want to provide those members the same seamless service that we offer in our pharmacies, without barriers thrown up by doctors who prefer that they, rather than Costco, sell our members contact lenses."

Costco currently operates 703 warehouses, including 492 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 90 in Canada, 36 in Mexico, 27 in the United Kingdom, 24 in Japan, 12 in Korea, 12 in Taiwan, eight in Australia and two in Spain. Costco also operates electronic commerce web sites in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea and Taiwan.

Certain statements contained in this document constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. For these purposes, forward-looking statements are statements that address activities, events, conditions or developments that the Company expects or anticipates may occur in the future. Such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual events, results or performance to differ materially from those indicated by such statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, domestic and international economic conditions, including exchange rates, the effects of competition and regulation, uncertainties in the financial markets, consumer and small business spending patterns and debt levels, breaches of security or privacy of member or business information, conditions affecting the acquisition, development, ownership or use of real estate, capital spending, actions of vendors, rising costs associated with employees (generally including health care costs), energy and certain commodities, geopolitical conditions, and other risks identified from time to time in the Company's public statements and reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we do not undertake to update these statements, except as required by law.

Costco Wholesale Corporation
Richard Chavez
Senior Vice President

Source: Costco