B&L eyes US$1bn product recall bill

Bauschb & Lomb faces a compensation bill of up to US$1 billion after the worldwide recall of one of its contact lens cleaning products that has been linked to a dangerous eye fungus.

  • E-Mail
By  James Doran Published  May 21, 2006

Bauschb & Lomb faces a compensation bill of up to US$1 billion after the worldwide recall of one of its contact lens cleaning products that has been linked to a dangerous eye fungus. Lawsuits are piling up against the embattled eyecare company as the number of cases of keratitis in users of Bausch & Lomb’s ReNu with MoistureLoc lens cleaning solution grows. David Maris, an analyst who covers Bausch & Lomb for Banc of America Securities, believes the cases are becoming so widespread that they could cost the company between US$500million and US$1billion. Such a large payout would dwarf the sales of the ReNu product, which amounted to only about US$100 million last year. Mr Maris believes that each Bausch & Lomb customer affected could claim as much as US$10million in damages. “At US$5million to US$10million a case the liability could rise into the US$500million to US$1billion level,” Mr Maris wrote. The cases of rare fungus associated with Bausch & Lomb’s lens cleaner are growing in number and severity. One elderly woman from Florida claims to have lost an eye when she was infected with the rare fungus shortly after beginning to use the product. Zoe Wade, 69, from Lake Placid, Florida, claims that symptoms of the fungus arose a few weeks after she began using the product in January last year. Seven months later her doctor recommended removing her left eye to stop the condition from spreading. At least 122 people have been infected with the disease in the United States while dozens more cases are cropping up around the world every day. Last night (Tuesday) it emerged that Bausch & Lomb had failed to alert authorities in the US about a further 35 cases of the disease reported in Singapore. In a further blow to the company, the US Food and Drug Administration, the American medicines watchdog, said the finding was among 20 potential violations found after inspecting Bausch & Lomb factories in Greenville, South Carolina. The company halted production of the suspect lens cleaner worldwide on Monday and admitted for the first time that the spread of the rare fungus could be in some way linked to the ReNu product. Bill Federman, a product liability lawyer who has fought class action cases against drug companies, said he was planning to file suits against Bausch & Lomb on behalf of several plaintiffs within two weeks. Bausch & Lomb said last week it was doing all it could to ensure the safety of its customers.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code