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Contact Lens Care Products Results In Eye Infection

May 05, 2006 at 9:33 PM Corporate News   - G J E 4
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Contact Lens Care Products Results In Eye Infection
Bausch & Lomb Inc. is in serious trouble after an eye infection was detected in association with the use of one of its lens care products. There are complaints arising from Asia, US and Europe under pressure since authorities said its contact lens care products might be linked to a spate of serious eye infections in Asia and the United States, said a handful of cases of the infection had also been confirmed in Europe. Bausch & Lomb, based in Rochester, New York, recalled ReNu lens care products after users were diagnosed with fungal infections. Health authorities have not yet determined a root cause of the fungal infection, known as Fusarium keratitis, which can lead to blindness and potential eye loss.

The stock, which is trading near three-year lows, has fallen nearly 40 percent this year and is the weakest health-care issue in the Standard & Poor's 500 index. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about 27% of the cases involved ReNu brand, ReNu MultiPlus, suggesting the company's entire ReNu franchise may be at risk. Bausch was planning to repurchase all of five series of bonds totaling nearly $544 million. Banc of America Securities analyst David Maris said that the company would be left with little cash. But a Bausch & Lomb spokesman said the company has ample cash to cover its debt repurchase. Cal Warriner, a West Palm Beach attorney says that there an increase in the number of cases against the company. His firm now handles more than 100 cases against Bausch & Lomb.

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