- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans to stop using EzriCare Artificial Tears after the product was linked to an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Fifty people have been infected in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Washington. Some patients have been blinded by their infections, and one patient died when the germ entered the bloodstream, according to a Jan. 20 CDC report.

The agency found that many patients reported using eyedrops before their infections developed.

“The most common brand reported was EzriCare Artificial Tears, a preservative-free product dispensed in multidose bottles. Laboratory testing of EzriCare Artificial Tears by CDC identified the presence of [Pseudomonas] in opened EzriCare bottles,” the CDC wrote.

The CDC recommended not to use the product until laboratory testing is complete.

“This investigation unfortunately reiterates the significance of ensuring that all ophthalmic and optometric devices are cleaned, disinfected and sterilized. … A breach or omission in reprocessing could increase the risk of an outbreak,” Katharine Hoffman, infection prevention community health program manager at JPS Health Network, told Infection Control Today.

EzriCare eye drops, however, have not been recalled. 

“EzriCare has received no consumer complaints or adverse event report related to the investigation to date, Also, as of this date, EzriCare has not received communication from any regulatory agency providing any outcomes or details to EzriCare about the ongoing investigation. We have not been asked to conduct a recall,” the company wrote in a Jan. 24 statement. 

Nevertheless, EzriCare also urged consumers to stop using the product. The company noted that, while it sold the eyedrops in question, they were formulated and imported by U.S.-based Aru Pharma Inc. and manufactured by Global Pharma Healthcare in India.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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