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Healthcare professionals in ReNu study honoured

Jul 10, 2006 | www.channelnewsasia.com

A team of Singapore healthcare professionals were the first to alert the world on a link between a ReNu contact lens solution and a global spike in fungal corneal infections.

These professionals have been honoured for not only daring to take on a pharmaceutical giant but also for saving the sight of many contact lens users.

The team of eye doctors and researchers were the first in the world to discover the link between Bausch and Lomb's ReNu MoistureLoc contact lens solution and the rising cases of fungal corneal infections.

The discovery came after some nifty investigation work, and throughout the investigation process, high stakes were involved.

Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said: "Certainly when you decide to do something like this, you're taking on a very big multi-national corporation and as I said, they're armed with teams of (scientists and) lawyers. And if the advisory was pre-mature or without basis, or could not be proven, I'm quite sure there'll be a legal suit on our table.

"But more than legal suits, it's also our own reputation. In this instance, the reputation of SNEC and of course Ministry of Health and Singapore. So I'm quite glad. More importantly it ended up well."

Associate Professor Donald Tan, Deputy Director of the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), said: "I think it was speed which saved a lot of patients, not only in Singapore but also elsewhere. So we're very happy that we were able to do that.

"In the US, one third of the patients actually required corneal transplants. So it's very severe, and a lot of it is because of delayed diagnosis. For us, we have five transplants out of 68 cases. So the severity was much less. So our patients did not suffer as much. They had better visual outcomes because we got into it earlier."

To recognise their vigilance, professionalism, dedication and courage, the team of eye doctors and researchers were given the Health Minister Awards on Monday.

Another team of healthcare professionals also received the Minister of Health award.


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