The recent recalls of several eye drop brands have raised concerns regarding the safety of these over-the-counter (OTC) products. Millions of people rely on these drops to alleviate dryness, irritation, and other mild eye health issues. This comprehensive guide delves into the specifics of the recalls, the possible legal implications for the manufacturers and shares essential tips on how to protect yourself as a user of these products.
Read more about recalled eye drops and eye injuries.
Eye Drop Brands and Their Recalls
Since January 2022, four eye drop products have been recalled due to various issues, ranging from bacterial contamination to questionable sterility. Below, we discuss each recalled brand and the reasons behind each recall.
Global Pharma: EzriCare and Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears
In January and February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned about the use of these two eye drop brands. The products were linked to a drug-resistant strain of bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa, causing severe injuries such as vision loss, enucleation (surgical removal of the eyeball), and at least three deaths. In response, Global Pharma, the manufacturer of these products, recalled them in February.
Pharmedica USA: Purely Soothing, 15% MSM Drops
In March 2022, Pharmedica USA recalled two lots of its Purely Soothing, 15% MSM Drops due to sterility concerns. Although the product has not been linked to any illnesses, the company warned that using contaminated eye drops could result in infections leading to blindness.
Apotex Corp: Brimonidine Tartrate Ophthalmic Solution, 0.15%
Apotex Corp also recalled its Brimonidine Tartrate Ophthalmic Solution, 0.15% in March 2022. While unrelated to the bacterial infection outbreak, the recall was issued due to concerns about cracks in the bottle caps, which could compromise the product’s sterility and lead to infections.
Understanding the Bacterial Infections Linked to Eye Drops
As of March 1, the CDC has identified 64 patients from 13 states infected with the drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain linked to the use of artificial tears. The bacteria are known to cause potentially severe infections, with more than 30,000 cases occurring annually among hospitalized patients in the U.S. The infections lead to over 2,500 deaths each year.
While this specific strain is associated with the EzriCare and Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears, patients who used other brands have also reported infections. It is crucial to understand the risks involved and consult your health care provider if you have used any recalled eye drops.
Symptoms to Watch Out For and When to Seek Medical Help
If you have used any of the recalled eye drops, you should be alert for symptoms of an eye infection. These can include:
- Discharge from the eye
- Eye pain or discomfort
- Redness of the eye or eyelid
- Feeling something in the eye
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to consult your healthcare provider immediately for evaluation and treatment. Patients who do not show symptoms do not need to undergo testing.
Staying Safe When Using Eye Drops
While the recalls have raised concerns about the safety of OTC eye drops, it is essential to remember that incidents related to these specific brands are rare. The majority of people use eye drops safely to alleviate various eye conditions. As an eye drop user, you can follow these best practices to ensure your safety:
- Check the recall list and stop using any affected products immediately
- Stick to well-known, trusted brands that have not been recalled
- Consult your eye doctor about whether you genuinely need eye drops
- Store and use eye drops according to manufacturer guidelines
- Be vigilant about expiration dates and dispose of products accordingly
- Keep your eye drops sterile by not touching the tip of the bottle to your eye, fingers, or any other surfaces
Potential Legal Implications and Compensation Claims
Given the severity of the infections caused by the recalled eye drops, it is possible that affected individuals may file lawsuits against the manufacturers. Recently, a woman from Florida sued Global Pharma, claiming that an infection due to its eye drop product caused her to lose an eye. Manufacturers may be held liable for damages arising from their defective products, and those who have suffered adverse effects may seek compensation for their medical expenses, pain, and suffering, as well as other damages.
Contact Alonso Krangle LLP for Legal Assistance
If you or a loved one have been adversely affected by the recalled eye drops, it is crucial to seek legal advice to understand your rights and potential compensation. Contact the experienced attorneys at Alonso Krangle LLP at (800) 403-6191 to discuss your case and explore your options.