The pharmaceutical company, Global Pharma Healthcare, has recalled its over-the-counter eye drop product EzriCare Artificial Tears because of possible contamination that can lead to severe infections. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has also warned consumers of EzriCare Artificial Tears to discontinue their product use to prevent exposure to bacteria that can cause antibiotic-resistant infections.
Currently, there have been 55 patients across 12 states whose infections have been linked to using the over-the-counter eye drops. The CDC, Federal Drug Administration (FDA), and state and local health departments are collaborating on an investigation into EzriCare Artificial Tears and infections caused by the dangerous bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
What are EzriCare Artificial Tears?
The EzriCare Artificial Tears product is an over-the-counter eye drop used to treat dry eyes caused by insufficient tear production. They contain carboxymethylcellulose sodium, a lubricating ingredient used in most over-the-counter eye drops, which moisturizes the eyes and provides a barrier to prevent further irritation.
These preservative-free eye drops have been relieving dry eye symptoms such as itching, burning, and light sensitivity for years. They have helped many people who require eye lubrication due to allergies, prolonged computer usage, or medication that can cause dry eyes. However, recent developments have indicated that EzriCare Artificial Tears are not as safe as once thought and can cause antibiotic-resistant infections resulting in vision loss or death.
EzriCare Artificial Tears Recalled After Eye Infection Linked Was Discovered
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) warned consumers about the danger of EzriCare Artificial Tears on January 20th, 2023, citing concerns over the eye drops connection to eye and bloodstream infections. The agency began investigating EzriCare Artificial Tears after 55 cases of eye infections in twelve states were connected to using the Global Pharma Healthcare product. The CDC urged consumers to halt using these products until their joint investigation with the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and local and state health departments determined whether EzriCare Artificial Tears caused infections.
Global Pharma Healthcare issued a voluntary recall of all unexpired EzriCare Artificial Tears products. The FDA suggested this recall while they investigate possible current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) violations by Global Pharma Healthcare, including formulation issues, lack of necessary microbial testing, and absence of protocols regarding tamper-evident packaging.
EzriCare Artificial Tears Contaminated by Bacterium Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
The FDA and CDC’s joint investigation into EzriCare Artificial Tears has to do with the belief that the bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, has contaminated the eye drop product. This is a type of bacteria commonly found in the environment, such as in water or soil. It is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can invade the body and cause infections of the blood, lungs, or other parts of the body.
Some people who have suffered from eye infections after the use of artificial tears have tested positive for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This bacteria thrives in water, which is why it can cause eye infections that can result in vision loss or death.
Infections Caused by EzriCare Artificial Tears Resisting Antibiotics
The outbreak strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in EzriCare Artificial Tears, carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa with Verona integron-mediated metallo-β-lactamase and Guiana extended-spectrum-β-lactamase (VIM-GES-CRPA), has never been reported in the United States before. What makes this bacterial strain so dangerous is that it can resist antibiotics, making it hard to treat the eye infections people have been suffering.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a gram-negative bacteria, meaning it has an outer membrane that antibiotics cannot penetrate. When biotics don’t work, doctors normally use carbapenems. They are a type of drug used to treat severe infections caused by gram-negative bacteria. However, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is also resistant to carbapenems, making treatment of eye infections caused by EzriCare Artificial Tears a difficult task for healthcare professionals.
Health Issues Caused by EzriCare Artificial Tears
Using EzriCare Artificial Tears can expose people to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause severe bacterial infections. These infections can have a long-lasting impact on a person’s health and standard of living. There have already been reports of vision loss and death as a result of eye infections from EzriCare Artificial Tears usage. Other serious health complications can arise from bacterial infections that irreparably damage a person’s health and cause significant harm.
The following are some of the health issues bacterial infections from using EzriCare Artificial Tears can cause:
- Organ failure
- Brain damage
- Tissue damage
Some of the symptoms of an eye infection include pain in the eye, sensitivity to light, redness in the eye or eyelid, and unusual discharge from the eye. If you use EzriCare Artificial Tears and experience these symptoms, it’s essential to see a doctor to attempt to treat your infection before things get much worse.
Damages Caused by EzriCare Artificial Tears
People who suffer bacterial infections from using EzriCare Artificial Tears have the right to pursue compensation for damages. They can pursue compensation for economic damages, which are the monetary losses they suffer as a result of their severe health issue. They can also seek non-economic damages, which are intangible losses that reflect how their quality of life diminished due to their bacterial infection.
The following are some of the damages you could seek for a bacterial infection caused by EzriCare Artificial Tears:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of society
- Funeral and burial costs
What Should EzriCare Artificial Tears Users Do Next?
If you use EzriCare Artificial Tears, you should prepare for the likelihood that you could suffer a bacterial infection and need to file a product liability lawyer to pursue compensatory damages. Make sure you keep a record of your EzriCare Artificial Tears use by keeping any containers with product labels, as well as any receipts of purchase or medical records indicating you should use the product.
You should also schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional if you showcase any signs of bacterial infection. As mentioned above, treatment for infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa can be challenging, so starting the process early is essential. Defendants in product liability lawsuits will try to devalue your case by accusing you of negligence regarding medical treatment. Seeing a healthcare provider early in the process shows that you were proactive in treating your severe injury.
Contact a Product Liability Lawyer
You should also contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. While EzriCare Artificial Tears lawsuits have not been filed yet, people who suffered bacterial infections from the product will likely attempt to pursue compensation for damages. Speak to a personal injury lawyer early in the process to allow them to explain your rights, build a legal strategy for future litigation, and collect evidence that can prove your case.