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Wal-Mart, Walgreens Stop Selling Bausch & Lomb ReNu

Apr 12, 2006 | Consumer Affairs

Two major retailers, Wal-Mart and Walgreens, have pulled Bausch & Lomb's ReNu contact lens cleaning products from their shelves until safety concerns are resolved. Earlier this week the company announced it had suspended shipments of the products over concerns the solution may be linked to serious eye infections.

Both retailers said they are not returning the product to Bausch & Lomb, but have simply suspended sales until the Centers for Disease Control can complete its investigation.

Bausch & Lomb agreed to halt shipments of ReNu with MoistureLoc, a contact lens solution produced at its Greenville, S.C., manufacturing facility, pending the CDC probe. The agency received more than 100 reports of the rare infection from consumers in 17 states.

"This action does not affect any other Bausch & Lomb products. This announcement follows the release of a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it is reviewing reports of 109 cases of suspected fungal keratitis," the company said in a statement earlier this week.

The CDC reports that the majority of cases have yet to be reviewed, but of the 30 cases reviewed to date, 28 involved contact lens wearers. Twenty-one reported using ReNu brand contact lens care products and 5 reported using a combination of ReNu and products manufactured by other companies, according to the company.

Bausch & Lomb said it has been collaborating with the FDA, the CDC, major eye centers and health authorities in a comprehensive investigation to determine if the reports represent an increase in the historical incidence of these infections, and to determine the root cause.

"Bausch & Lomb's first priority is the health and safety of consumers," said Ronald L. Zarrella, chairman and CEO of the company. "The CDC data are both troubling and perplexing, as there is an apparent disproportionate representation of U.S. manufactured ReNu with MoistureLoc in the underlying data. The source of these infections has not been determined. Based on our extensive testing, analysis and further internal reviews, and communications with leading experts, the available scientific evidence does not establish any type of ReNu solution as a cause."

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