April 14, 2006
Bausch Suspends Lens Solution, Faces Lawsuit
LOS ANGELES -- A widely used Bausch & Lomb contact lens solution was pulled from major U.S. retailers' shelves on Thursday at the urging of the company, as a lawsuit was filed charging that it failed to disclose the product's link to serious eye infections among users in Asia.
A Bausch & Lomb spokeswoman said she had not seen the proposed class-action lawsuit and could not comment.
Sears Holdings Corp. said it pulled ReNu with MoistureLoc from its Kmart and Sears stores, joining Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Walgreen Co. and other retailers in clearing the lens solution from their shelves.
Bausch & Lomb asked stores to temporarily remove the solution three days after it stopped shipments. It said it would run newspaper ads warning consumers not to use the solution.
The company was sued in federal court in New York for allegedly failing to disclose problems with ReNu after it became aware that users in Asia had contracted fungal infections.
Bausch & Lomb suspended sales of ReNu in Hong Kong and Singapore after potential health problems arose in Asia two months ago.
U.S. health authorities are looking into 109 cases of Fusarium keratitis, a rare fungal infection that can cause permanent vision loss if untreated.
People in 26 of those cases said they used ReNu products or generic versions made by Bausch & Lomb. Most of the patients reported using ReNu with MoistureLoc manufactured at the company's U.S. factory, it said.
Bausch & Lomb said in a statement it had inspected its plants and didn't find any link to the infections. It recommended that consumers use another lens care solution while it investigates reports about the health problems.
Bausch & Lomb said it is placing ads in USA Today and regional newspapers on April 14 and April 16 featuring a letter from company Chairman and Chief Executive Ron Zarrella.