Massive Recall of Eye Drops Impacts Major Drug Store Chains

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  • The FDA has issued a warning that eye drops manufactured by Altaire Pharmaceuticals may not be sterile.
  • Although Altaire Pharmaceuticals insists that no adverse events have been reported, they are voluntarily recalling all products currently on shelves as a cautionary approach.
  • The eye drop recalls will affect the following stores: Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, and Target.
  • If you feel that you have purchased one of the affected products, there is no immediate need to stop using them.

Have you purchased over-the-counter or prescription eye drops recently? You might need to rethink putting them in your eyes!

‘Life-Threatening Infections or Death’

A massive voluntary recall by Altaire Pharmaceuticals has affected drops sold at Walgreens, Walmart, Target, and CVS—in other words, the biggest drug stores in the country. The problem? The FDA is concerned that the products may not be sterile.

The FDA issued this warning: “Administration of a non-sterile product intended to be sterile may result in serious and potentially life-threatening infections or death.” Yikes!

Altaire insists that none of the products currently on shelves were affected by the issue, stating that they have “received no reports of adverse events, nor has Altaire obtained any out of specifications results including sterility testing… for the products.”

Despite their reassurances that none of the shipped products were contaminated in any way, the drug manufacturer decided to issue a voluntary recall. This decision will take a huge number of bottles off the shelf of your favorite retailers.

Nationwide Recall Hits Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, and Target

It might shock you to know that a single company produces the vast majority of eye ointments and drops in the country. Altaire makes Clear Eyes as well as the store brands for Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS. The FDA expanded the recall yesterday to include Target store brand Up & Up. In addition, they also manufacture several prescription brands, such as Perrigo.

Here’s a partial list of the over-the-counter products that have been recalled so far:

  • 74 lots from Walmart
  • 5 different products from Walgreens, including Lubricant Eye Drops Moisturizing and Sodium Chloride Ophthalmic Ointment, 5% Hypertonicity Eye Ointment
  • 30 different products and various lots from CVS, including those sold under the names Natural Tears Lubricant Eye Drops, Lubricant Eye Drops for Mild to Moderate Dry Eye, Dry Eye Relief Eye Drops, Extra Strength Lubricant Gel Drops, and Multi-Action Relief Drops

If you think that you might have purchased one of these products, check Altaire’s website or the retailer where you purchased it. They will provide a detailed list of the products—including package size, expiration date, and lot number—so you can determine if you need to stop using your eye drops or ointments. The FDA also maintains a master list of the recalled products.

Because the recall is at the retail level, the products are being pulled from shelves. However, you do not need to return the products you already purchased to the store or the manufacturer. No adverse effects have been reported from customers, so this recall of eye drops is just a precaution. Still, when it comes to your sight, better safe than sorry!