Sunday, April 16, 2006

:: adgruntie :: Bausch & Lomb Debacle

+ Bausch & Lomb are in a bit of a pickle. There is much questioning of their reaction time to the a rare fungal eye infection that seemed to appear with higher frequency among wearers of soft contact lenses who use Bausch's ReNu With MoistureLoc solution. Last Monday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was investigating 109 reports.
Clusters of Fusarium keratitis, the eye infection, began surfacing in Asia as far back as November. So why, they ask, did Bausch wait so long to tackle the issue in the United States?

"They had plenty of warning," said George Sard, chairman of Sard Verbinnen, a crisis management firm. "They kept taking this series of temporizing measures and half-steps, and they've probably exacerbated concerns about the integrity of their brands."
The even bigger irony about it is that all over the company's web page you see the words "eye health". If they care that much about eye health, why the delay?

Here's a bit from the press release they sent out Friday:
"For more than 150 years, Bausch & Lomb's mission has been to enhance your vision,” says Zarrella in his letter. "We find ourselves in a position where the safety of one of our products, ReNu with MoistureLoc manufactured at our United States plant, is in question. We've done a series of exhaustive tests on the product, and a thorough inspection of the plant, and nothing has yet been found to show that ReNu with MoistureLoc contributed to these infections in any way. However, in the cases of infections reviewed to date, the majority of patients reported using ReNu with MoistureLoc manufactured at our U.S. factory."
Uh, is it just me or then does that seem to imply that, yes, there is something going on at the plant they are liable for? And if so, why aren't they taking more action? Eye health isn't something you fuck around with.

So far The Food and Drug Administration hasn't asked Bausch & Lomb to remove the lens cleaner from the market.

On Friday, Bausch & Lomb ran ads urging that consumers use other contact lens cleaners they make, such as ReNu MultiPlus. How nice of them. You'd think that with a scare as serious as this - where a product could be the cause of something as nasty as BLINDNESS people just might not heed that advice and rather opt for another brand that hasn't had this kind of issue.

The company's lame attempt to fix the problem includes the ability to get a coupon for a free bottle of MultiPlus and a refund, which is only good one per person, or two per household. So what the fuck do you do if, say, you have three bottles or a case of this crap that could potentially be hazardous to your vision? Tough shit says Bausch. Even though cases have been reported in other countries for months, they still feel that one refund is a-OK. That is crap. If you have more than one bottle and the lot numbers, why the hell shouldn't you be able to get a refund for all the bottles you have bought?

The fact that they took out an ad to notify the public in USA Today is fine, but what about all those folks who don't read USA Today? What about the people who happened to miss their "appology" letter in a regional paper? I suppose this is an example of why it's good to stay up on the news.

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