Bauschwhacked! The Anatomy of a Recall
November 2005: Health authorities in Hong Kong noticed a spate of eye infections, primarily from contact lens wearers who used ReNu with MoistureLoc. The company undertook an investigation.
February 18, 2006: The Singapore Ministry of Health reported dozens of cases of this eye infection that appeared to be the result of people using this product.
The Hong Kong and Singapore batches of the solution—as well as that which was sold in the United States—were manufactured in the South Carolina plant that had received the 2002 warning from the FDA.
Several days later, Bausch & Lomb withdrew the product from the Hong Kong and Singapore markets.
Over the course of the next two months, as reports of eye infections by users of ReNu with MoistureLoc across the United States were surfacing, retailers began removing the product from their shelves. Among them: Wal-Mart, Walgreen, Albertson's and CVS.
April 13, 2006: Bausch & Lomb announced that it would not recall its contact lens cleaner, even though consumers were changing to other brands.
April 14, 2006: Bausch & Lomb ran full-page ads in major newspapers—"An Important message from Bausch & Lomb"—signed by chairman Ron Zarella. Underneath the letter was a Q&A about Fusarium Keratitis.
The letter starts with a policy statement from the corporation:
Dear Loyal ReNu Customer,
For more than 150 years, Bausch & Lomb's mission has been to enhance your vision. Our highest priority is protecting the health and safety of your eyes.
Zarella then speaks personally.
I am writing this letter because 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. And that most certainly raises questions for you. I apologize for the confusion of the past few days and will try to clear up what I can.