In January of 2023, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) began to investigate claims of adverse events, particularly Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections of the eye, stemming from the use of several over-the-counter brands of eye drops. This included EzriCare Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops, a product manufactured by Global Pharma Healthcare PVT Limited in India and brought to the United States by Aru Pharma Inc. for distribution by several brand names.
Initially, EzriCare LLC stated that its only role was to design the product label and that it had no part in its formulation, manufacturing, packaging or distribution. Even so, EzriCare LLC has been cooperating with investigation efforts and making an effort to reach out to customers to recommend they discontinue using the eye drops. Global Pharma issued a voluntary recall of the product, and the FDA put out an official warning on February 2, 2023, advising against the purchase or use of EzriCare Artificial Tears.
Potential Health Issues Caused by EzriCare Artificial Tears
The CDC linked the use of EzriCare and other brands of eye drops to a bacterial infection called carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This bacteria occurs in soil and water that has been contaminated and is also commonly found in hospitals. Anyone can develop an infection, but those who are breathing through ventilators, recovering from surgery or experiencing serious illness are at the highest risk. The infections are deemed so dangerous because they don’t respond to antibiotics. Some patients spend months trying out various treatments to find one that works, while others die from a variety of complications.
The potential bacterial contamination of these eye-drop products increases the risk of serious eye infections that could lead to vision loss, blindness, eye removal or even death due to an infection of the bloodstream. The most common symptoms associated with the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterial infection include:
- Redness of the eyeball or eyelid
- Green, yellow or clear eye discharge
- Blurry vision
- Eye pain
- The sensation of something in the eye
- Sensitivity to light
Officials urge any patients who have used EzriCare Artificial Tears and exhibit signs of an eye infection to seek immediate medical attention.
What Is the EzriCare Artificial Tears Lawsuit?
Clara Oliva, a woman in Miami, Florida, was prescribed the EzriCare Artificial Tears eye drops to treat dryness. She developed an infection of a rare, deadly bacteria in her right eye that didn’t respond to antibiotics or treatment after repeated trips to doctors and the emergency room. Her physicians ultimately decided to remove the eye to prevent the further spread of the bacteria and save the woman’s life. The operation left Oliva legally blind as she has decreased visual acuity in her left eye, forever changing her life.
Oliva decided to sue the maker of the eye drops, Global Pharma Healthcare, and the U.S. distributors of the product, which are EzriCare, EzriRx and Aru Pharma, to prevent other patients from experiencing the same devastating health effects and to urge the makers to accept accountability. Oliva’s healthcare provider Leon Medical Centers LLC, and her health insurance plan HealthSpring of Florida Inc., are also named as defendants in the lawsuit. She is seeking damages to cover her medical expenses and additional compensation for pain and suffering.
By March 22, 2023, 68 patients across the United States had developed serious injuries after using the contaminated eye drops, and there were three deaths. There are now multiple other lawsuits concerning EzriCare’s Artificial Tears. Two are federal class action suits in New York and Kentucky.
Legal Basis for the Lawsuit
Even though the manufacturer decided to issue a voluntary recall of the product with the FDA recall, it is still liable and open to litigation. Those pursuing the suit state their belief that the company failed to conduct proper testing of the formulations and may have deliberately misled the results or withheld crucial data from clinical studies.
The official legal basis is that the lawsuit cites violations of FDA CGMP (current good manufacturing practice) along with a lack of testing for microbials and a lack of implementing controls regarding tamper-evident packaging. Legal teams expect that the lawsuit will result in large cash settlements to be paid out to those affected.
Who Qualifies for a Settlement Through the Lawsuit
You can file a lawsuit against EzriCare Artificial Tears if you have used either EzriCare Artificial Tears or Delsam Artificial Eye Ointment and experience adverse effects such as an eye infection, loss of vision, hospitalization or another complication related to an infection. So far, the majority of patients report using the EzriCare Artificial Tears brand. Check your product for the following codes:
- EzriCare NDC 79503-0101-15, UPC 3 79503 101157 7
- Delsam Pharma’s NCD 72570-121-15, UPC-72570-0121-15
Eye ointment manufactured and distributed by Delsam Pharma is another potentially contaminated product. The best course of action to file a lawsuit is to contact an attorney immediately and discuss your case. Your legal counsel can help you determine if you are eligible to sue and potentially receive compensation. An attorney can then file the lawsuit for you and begin the litigation process.
Most affected parties are seeking compensation to pay off medical bills and to cover the cost of continued medical care. They are also seeking compensation for pain and suffering due to vision damage and other complications. The effects of a bacterial infection from contaminated EzriCare Artificial Tears can last the remainder of your life. Vision loss is a serious issue that interferes with your ability to go to work and earn money and do normal daily activities such as driving, reading, caring for yourself and your family, and so much more. Hiring a lawyer to help you navigate the legal system and present your case is a smart move to work toward obtaining a settlement.
Think You Have A Case? Don’t Delay!
Act as soon as possible as there is a time constraint to file a lawsuit and hold the responsible parties accountable, referred to as the statute of limitations. In some states, this is a period of two years, although the time limit can vary. Talk to your lawyer for more information and to act quickly to get the best chance of winning your lawsuit.