Eye drops linked to bacterial infections recalled: 6 things to know

The manufacturer of EzriCare Artificial Tears, which has been linked to a drug-resistant bacteria outbreak, is recalling the over-the-counter eye drops, The New York Times reported Feb. 2.

The CDC advised people to stop using the eye drops after it infected 55 people in 12 states. One person has died and five of 11 people who had eye infections lost vision in at least one eye.

Here are five things to know:

  1. This strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa has not been identified in the U.S. before. It is resistant to a class of antibiotics called carbapenems, and the bacteria can cause infections in the blood, lungs and other body parts.

  2. The recall also includes Delsam Pharma's Artificial Tears which are made by Global Pharma, an Indian company that manufactures the EzriCare eye drops. Global Pharma said it recalled the eye drops "out of an abundance of caution."

  3. The CDC said it found the bacteria strain in opened bottles of EzriCare eye drops collected from patients with and without eye infections. The agency is testing unopened bottles to determine whether contamination occurred during manufacturing.

  4. The bacteria strain was found in people in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin between May 2022 and January.

  5. Of 55 cases, 35 were linked to four healthcare facility clusters, the CDC said.

"Global Pharma is fully cooperating with U.S. federal authorities, and is continuing to investigate this matter, but thus far we have not determined whether our manufacturing facility is the source of the contamination," the company said in an emailed statement to The New York Times.

EzriCare, a drug company based in New Jersey, said in a statement that it did not manufacture the eye drops and was involved only in designing the product's label and marketing. It was informed of the CDC investigation on Jan. 20 and "immediately took action to stop any further distribution or sale of EzriCare Artificial Tears."

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