Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Federal health officials are warning consumers to discontinue use of over 26 over-the-counter eyedrops products due to the potential risk of eye infection, which could result in partial vision loss or blindness.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert regarding 26 eye care products, including eyedrops and gels, from various brands such as CVS Health, Leader (Cardinal Health), Rugby (Cardinal Health), Rite Aid, Target up&up, and Velocity Pharma.

After discovering unsanitary conditions in a manufacturing plant, FDA investigators recommended on Wednesday that the manufacturer recall all lots of these products. The agency did not disclose the name of the plant but confirmed that critical drug production areas tested positive for bacteria.

Although no reports of infection associated with these products have been received by the FDA, the agency urges healthcare professionals and patients to report any cases.

Regulators emphasize the importance of sterility in these products, as drugs applied to the eyes bypass some of the body’s natural defenses.

To properly discard these products, consumers should take them to a drug take-back site or check the FDA’s “flush list” of safe drugs to be discarded at home.

CVS, Rite Aid, and Target are removing these products from their stores and websites. Products branded as Leader, Rugby, and Velocity should not be purchased, according to federal regulators.

Rite Aid has confirmed the removal of “applicable Rite Aid branded products” from store shelves. CVS has halted the sale of all products supplied by Velocity Pharma within the CVS Health Brand Eye Products portfolio, with customers eligible for a full refund. The other retailers did not provide immediate comment.

Recent reports have highlighted issues with eye products. In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA warned consumers about EzriCare Artificial Tears and Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears, both linked to a drug-resistant strain of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, resulting in four deaths and vision loss in 14 patients.

In March, Apotex, a Canadian Pharmaceutical company, recalled prescription eyedrops due to cracks in bottle caps that could compromise sterility.

Overall, experts assert that eyedrops are generally safe. By 2024, Statista projects that 123 million Americans will use eyedrops.

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