Bausch & Lomb settles 600 fungus suits

Associated Press / June 1, 2009
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Some eye doctors are still hoping that some of the lawsuits over a lens cleaner made by Bausch & Lomb will end up in court, so that the events that led to hundreds of fungal infection lawsuits will be aired publicly.

That hasn't happened. Over the past year, the company has quietly settled nearly 600 lawsuits, with dozens of individual claims still to be resolved. The cost so far is about $250 million.

The secrecy is what the company had in mind when it went private in 2007. Its chief executive says it wanted to handle a recall of the lens cleaner "without a lot of outside distraction."

More than 700 lens-wearers in the United States and Asia say they were exposed to a potentially blinding infection while using ReNu with MoistureLoc.

Seven people had to have an eye removed. Dozens more needed corneal transplants.

The out-of-court settlements that were reached in May included one in a case brought by actress and comedienne Andrea Martin, whose eye was scarred.