Walmart faces suits over eye drops that allegedly killed 1, blinded 5

Two people recently filed suit against Walmart and three pharmaceutical companies over the sale of eye drops that the CDC has linked to one death and five cases of blindness. 

Global Pharma recalled EzriCare and Deldam artificial tears products in early February because of a potential contamination that increases the risk of eye infections, blindness and death. The over-the-counter eye drops are linked to an outbreak of a drug-resistant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa that has never before been reported in the U.S. 

A Florida lawyer and a Texas-based law firm filed Feb. 9 on behalf of Florida resident Teresa Phillips, who seeks New Jersey-based EzriCare and EzriRx, New York-based Aru Pharma, and Delaware-based Walmart and Wal-mart Stores East to be held liable for the unsafe eye drops.

The product gave the defendant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, caused her "itchy and unrelenting pain in her eyes," and she required months of antibiotics and surgery because of the infection, the suit alleges. 

The same Texas law firm also filed Feb. 11 on behalf of Idaho resident Carolyn Ward. The case against EzriCare, EzriRx, Aru Pharma and Walmart alleges that Ms. Ward also purchased the eye drops, "felt itchy and unrelenting pain in her eyes," and despite being prescribed antibiotics and steroids for the infection, it spread to her torso, abdomen and back. 

Both suits seek the companies to be found guilty of breach of warranty and negligence.

EzriCare, EzriRx and Aru Pharma did not respond to Becker's requests for comment, but a Walmart spokesperson said the company does not manufacture these products and takes "quality and safety standards seriously for all of our suppliers and will review the complaints when we are served and respond accordingly."

The FDA and CDC have opened a joint investigation into the outbreak that has hit multiple states. As of Feb. 3, CDC data showed 55 people across 12 states have contracted the infection, one person has died and five have lost eyesight in at least one eye, and some physicians expect more infections, according to NBC News

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