EzriCare Artificial Tears Lawsuit
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended that clinicians and patients immediately discontinue the use of EzriCare Artificial Tears. It is investigating antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, including eye infections, that may be related to the product.
The artificial tears lawyers at Chaffin Luhana are currently examining cases in which patients used EzriCare Artificial Tears and then developed infections. Call our experienced attorneys to schedule a complimentary consultation at 1-888-480-1123.
Potential Injuries Related to EzriCare Artificial Tears
Use of EzriCare Artificial Tears may be related to:
- Antibiotic-resistant eye infections
- Pain or discomfort in the eye
- Vision loss including permanent vision loss
- Antibiotic-resistant blood or other infections
EzriCare Artificial Tears Lawsuits
EzriCare seems intent on dismissing any responsibility concerning its bacteria-contaminated products, stating repeatedly that it does not manufacture the product.
Yet importers are responsible for making sure the products brought into the U.S. are safe for use by the American public. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)—the federal agency charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from consumer products—includes importers in its definition of “manufacturer.”
Consumers who used EzriCare Artificial Tears and then suffered from serious, antibiotic-resistant infections may be eligible to file an EzriCare lawsuit. Call our experienced attorneys to schedule a complimentary consultation at 1-888-480-1123.
What is the Connection Between EzriCare Eye Lubricant and Infections?
The CDC warned about a potential link between EzriCare Artificial Tears and antibiotic-resistant infections on January 20, 2023. The agency, in partnership with state and local health departments, identified 55 patients from 12 states with these infections between May 17, 2022, and January 19, 2023. Those states included the following:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
Patient outcomes included permanent vision loss resulting from eye infections, and hospitalization. One of the patients died of a bloodstream infection. The majority of the patients also used artificial tears prior to the identification of the infections. The most commonly used brand was EzriCare Artificial Tears.
All of the infections were associated with Verona Integron-mediated Metallo-β-lactamase (VIM)- and Guiana-Extended Spectrum-β-lactamase (GES)- producing carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPA).
What is Pseudomonas aeruginosa?
Pseudomonas is a group of bacteria that can cause various types of infection. It’s commonly found in the environment, such as in soil and water. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the type that most often causes infections in humans, including blood, lung (pneumonia), and other infections.
It may be spread when people are exposed to contaminated water or soil. It can also be spread in healthcare settings from one person to another through contaminated hands, equipment, or surfaces.
When Pseudomonas aeruginosa is present in the eyes, it can cause eye infections like the following:
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)
- Endophthalmitis (inflammation within the eye)
- Cellulitis (infection of the skin around the eye)
- Dacryocystitis (infection of the tear glands/ducts)
Unfortunately, these bacteria are finding new ways to resist antibiotic treatment. The antibiotics that used to kill them no longer do as the bacteria have adapted and become resistant to them. The CDC notes that in 2017, multi-drug resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa caused an estimated 32,600 infections among hospitalized patients and 2,700 estimated deaths in the U.S.
To treat Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, doctors send a specimen (culture) to the laboratory to test any bacteria against a set of antibiotics to determine which drugs are active against the germ. For some multi-drug resistant types of bacteria, treatment options may be limited.
CDC Recommends Clinicians and Patients Avoid EzriCare Until Investigation Complete
For the CDC’s investigation, technicians tested specimens collected in both inpatient and outpatient settings. They identified antibiotic-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa from clinical cultures of the cornea (eye), sputum or bronchial wash, urine, blood, rectal swabs, and other nonsterile sources.
Testing of open EzriCare Artificial Tears bottles also identified Pseudomonas aeruginosa that were resistant to antibiotics, including carbapenem, ceftazidime, and cefepime. Carbapenem is a potent antibiotic commonly used as a last resort to treat severe bacterial infections.
At the time of this writing, the CDC is testing the bacteria found in EzriCare Artificial Tears bottles to see if it matches the outbreak strain identified in the infected patients. It is also continuing to test unopened bottles of EzriCare Artificial Tears.
Meanwhile, the agency recommended that clinicians and patients immediately stop using EzriCare Artificial Tears until it completes the investigation.
EzriCare Responds to the CDC’s Findings
On January 24, 2023, EzriCare responded to the investigation. The company stated on a webpage that it was aware of the investigation, but that it had received no consumer complaints or adverse event reports related to the investigation to date.
The company added that it had not been asked to conduct a recall of its products and that it does not manufacture the lubricant eye drops.
In “an abundance of caution,” it recommended that everyone discontinue the use of any portions of EzriCare Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops until “we can discover more details about any potential safety concerns.” Consumers were told to contact the company with any questions or concerns at the email firstname.lastname@example.org.
EzriCare provided an update on February 1, 2023, stating that it had received notice of the CDC’s ongoing investigation into the Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections. “As of today,” the statement reads, “we are not aware of any testing that definitely links the Pseudomonas aeruginosa outbreak to EzriCare Artificial Tears.”
Nevertheless, the company “took action to stop any further distribution or sale of EzriCare Artificial Tears.” It expressed to the CDC and FDA its willingness to cooperate with the investigation.
EzriCare emphasized once again that Global Pharma Healthcare PVT Limited manufactures the product. EzriCare’s only role in introducing the product to the market “was to design an exterior label and to market it to our consumers. EzriCare, LLC had no role in the formulation, packaging delivery system design or actual marketing of this product.”
The company noted in the update that according to its understanding, Global Pharma Healthcare PVT Limited would soon be initiating a recall of the product.
What Are EzriCare Artificial Tears?
EzriCare Artificial Tears contain the active ingredient carboxymethylcellulose sodium (Na CMC) at a concentration of 10 mg per 1 milliliter (recommended dose is one or two drops.) This ingredient is often used in dry-eye or “natural tears” products, such as Refresh Tears or TheraTears Lubricant Eye Drops.
EzriCare Artificial Tears came onto the market in 2020. It is a preservative-free eye lubricant that is used to treat a variety of symptoms, including the following:
- To relieve dryness of the eye
- As a protectant against further irritation
- For the temporary relief of discomfort due to minor irritations of the eye
- To relieve the discomfort of exposure to the wind or sun
Users are instructed to instill one or two drops in the affected eye(s) as needed.
The product is labeled and distributed by EzriCare, LLC, which is headquartered in Lakewood, New Jersey, but it is not manufactured by the company. EzriCare Artificial Tears is manufactured by Global Pharma Healthcare PVT LTD in India and imported into the U.S. by Aru Pharma Inc.
EzriCare Artificial Tears FAQs
Does EzriCare Artificial Tears Cause Serious Infections?
The CDC is investigating this question. So far, we know that at least 55 patients suffered from Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, and that open bottles of EzriCare Artificial Tears also contained Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The CDC’s investigation is ongoing. We expect to learn more as it releases its findings.
Is EzriCare Artificial Tears Dangerous?
The CDC has recommended that consumers and clinicians stop using EzriCare while it conducts its investigation. We don’t know yet if the product is dangerous, but we do know that some unopened bottles were contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. If you have EzriCare Artificial Tears in your possession, dispose of it immediately and use an alternate eye-lubricating product.
Am I Eligible for an EzriCare Lawsuit?
If you used EzriCare Artificial Tears and subsequently developed an antibiotic-resistant infection or vision loss, you may be eligible to file an EzriCare lawsuit. Talk to an EzriCare attorney about your options.