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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Bausch & Lomb recall exposes eye infection risks: "Bausch & Lomb recall exposes eye infection risks
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
By Sylvia Pagan Westphal, The Wall Street Journal

Two months ago, Bausch & Lomb Inc. issued a global recall of a new multipurpose contact-lens solution after it was linked to serious fungal eye infections in the U.S. and Asia. Within weeks, the company's U.S. market share for lens solutions dropped to 29 percent, down from 41 percent.
Bausch explained that under certain 'unique circumstances' -- such as when people left cases open and let the product evaporate -- ReNu with MoistureLoc created an environment that allowed the fusarium fungus to thrive.
But to some researchers, the ReNu fallout didn't come as a surprise. As long as nine years ago, tests performed by doctors and eye clinicians had suggested that multipurpose solutions might be associated with certain health risks.
Manufacturers of contact-lens solutions downplayed the concerns, saying their products were safe and effective when properly used. Market leader Bausch, in particular, took the offensive against researchers who linked its solutions to possible safety issues.
Today, there is mounting concern that multipurpose solutions -- so named because they are designed for cleaning, disinfecting and storing soft contact lenses -- may indeed be contributing to dangerous eye infections.
The fusarium scare has prompted the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates the solutions, to re-evaluate its current testing methods. Marketers are taking action, too. 'It was a wake-up call,' says Lynn Lasswell, director of eye care clinical research at Advanced Medical Optics Inc., maker of multipurpose solution brands including Complete MoisturePLUS. 'We're certainly looking at our testing methods to make them more robust.'


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