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Lens cleaner sparks UAE infection fears

May 8, 2006 | Sales of Bausch & Lomb contact lens cleaner have plummeted in UAE pharmacies, after the product was linked with an outbreak of eye infection fusarium keratitis.

ReNu MoistureLoc has sparked widespread panic in America, where the product has been implicated in more than 100 cases of the rare disease. An official investigation is underway.

While no cases have been reported in the UAE, the Ministry of Health has taken early steps to warn customers of possible dangers. Dr Eisa Al Mansouri, director of the drug
control department at the ministry, said pharmacies should provide customers will clear information, including advising lens wearers to see a doctor at the first sign of symptoms.

“We are advising pharmacies to stop selling the solution or to at least make customers aware of the risks,” he said.
Several pharmacies have voluntarily removed the product from their shelves.

In a statement, Bausch & Lomb said that product lines sourced from outside the US would not be affected by the outbreak, as it has only involved countries served by the US plant. All B&L products sold in the UAE are produced in Italy. The company also said that the product has not been proven as the cause of the infection, only that there was a “disproportionate association” between it and a “small number of events”.

Since the story broke, Bausch & Lomb has removed ReNu MoistureLoc from the American market. The company has also run full-page advertisements in USA Today urging customers to use other contact lens cleaners and offering full refunds to concerned consumers.

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