British animal rights radicals claim to have contaminated dozens of vials of contact lense solution in France and antiseptic cream in Britain to protest against animal testing, Paris prosecutors said Friday.
Ciba Vision, a subsidiary of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, issued a health warning Friday telling consumers to return any vials brought in the last five days due to a "possible malevolent act."
The contamination claim was made on the US-based animal rights website Bite Back and signed "Animal Rights Militia," a British radical movement.
"On August 25-27, 85 bottles of 'Solo Care, Aqua' made at Novartis were infected across France," said a statement in broken English dated August 28, which claimed to have targeted half a dozen opticians' chains across France.
"Each bottle was added hydrogen peroxide with small needle. CIBA Vision and Novartis must feel the pain of the animals they kill at HLS until they break contracts," it said, referring to animal testing carried out at the contested Huntingdon Life Sciences laboratory in southern England.
Paris prosecutors said an investigation had been opened to determine if the claims are genuine.
A second statement, posted the same day, claimed to have contaminated more than 250 tubes of antiseptic Savlon cream -- also manufactured by Novartis -- in the chemists' chains Boots and Superdrug in the north of England.
Novartis France said a recall of possibly affected products was also underway in Britain.
"We don't want to kill living beings like Novartis but the side effects and the inevitable hospital stay will give people an idea of what Novartis pays for inside Huntingdon Life Sciences," the statement said.
"You must stop killing animals inside Huntingdon Life Sciences or this will only be the beginning of our campaign."