An Indian factory stands accused of being the source of contaminated eye drops that have consumers on edge.
The US Food and Drug Administration recently released an alert, claiming that more than two dozen over the counter eye drop products posed potential risk to consumers.
The FDA pointed to 26 products being sold at major retailers including Target, Rite Aid and CVS, warning that it was possible these products were not, in fact, sterile. They say that applying these remedies via the eye means they can “bypass some of the body’s natural defenses.” In this case, potential bacterial contamination, the FDA says, could lead to blindness in users.
Several days after the alert was issued, more information on their source has been revealed.
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Bloomberg has reported that production of the eye drops has been linked back to a factory in Mumbai called Kilitch Healthcare India Ltd. Bloomberg News says it learned of a federal inspection at the facility that yielded some concerning finds. For one, they say that unsanitary conditions were reported, including claims that workers were seen barefoot.
Other allegations were even more egregious, suggesting that the plant was falsifying test results in order to make it appear that the drops were safe to use, including forging dates on products.
While the FDA has announced voluntary recalls on behalf of several of the brands who go to market with these drops, Kilitch has reportedly yet to issue its own, despite being urged to do so by the FDA.
According to the agency, it has not yet received reports of adverse effects, although it’s clear consumers should be on high alert. Earlier this year, non-sterile eye drops produced at another factory in India were said to have been the cause of dozens of US infections, in some cases causing blindness and even death.