Several lawsuits have been filed against the makers of artificial tears eye drops, recalled earlier this month due to possible bacterial contamination. The plaintiffs claim they suffered eye infections that led to vision loss or blindness after using the products sold under the EzriCare and Delsam Pharma brand names.
The eye drops were manufactured by Global Pharma Healthcare, a company that the FDA has previously criticized for poor manufacturing practices. On February 2, 2023, the company announced it was voluntarily recalling all unexpired lots of the eye drops after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a multi-state outbreak of infections involving a rare strain of drug-resistant bacteria known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
According to the CDC, 55 patients in 12 states have been infected with the bacteria, and most reported using artificial tears. The infection can cause serious complications, such as keratitis and endophthalmitis, which can result in permanent vision loss. The infection can also spread to other parts of the body, such as the urinary tract, respiratory system, or blood. At least one death has been linked to the contaminated products.
The lawsuits allege that the eye drop makers were negligent in developing and testing the products and failed to warn consumers and healthcare providers of the potential risks. The plaintiffs seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and more.
The eye drops were reportedly sold at Walmart and Amazon.com, though some patients may have received them as part of medical visits.
The FDA and the CDC have advised consumers and health care providers to stop using the eye drops and to look out for signs of eye infection, which may include eye discharge, blurry vision, eye pain, redness, increased sensitivity to light, and the “feeling of something in the eye.”