Twenty-six types of eye drops have been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA found that the drops, which were all manufactured by Velocity Pharma and distributed under various brand names, were made in “insanitary conditions” and could cause infection, the Washington Post reported.
The drops were sold under labels including CVS Health, Rite Aid, Target, Walmart and more. A full list is available here.
The Post reported that most of the products have been or are in the process of being pulled from store shelves.
“We’re committed to ensuring the products we offer are safe, work as intended and satisfy customers, and are fully cooperating with the FDA on this matter,” a CVS spokesperson told the Washington Post.
This isn’t the first big recall for eye drops this year: One over concerns over sterility and another prompted by dozens of bacterial infections resulted in permanent vision loss for five people and one death, the Post found.
Why it matters:
These widespread recalls will pose communications challenges for everyone involved— and even for manufacturers that are not involved. With so many brands involved and other high-profile recalls earlier this year, consumers will begin to internalize the message that eye drops are not safe.
Obviously there is work to be done on the consumer safety side of the coin, ensuring facilities are clean and ready to manufacture a product that is used on one of the most sensitive parts of the body.
But for communicators, this is the time to emphasize safety too. Hindsight may be 20/20, but there’s much to be learned while looking ahead: If your brand is ever subject to a recall, highlight what’s changed to protect consumers. Much like the reason for the eye drops themselves, transparency and clarity are key.
If your brand hasn’t been affected, emphasize the checks and balances in place.
This may be a time to engage medical professionals to act as influencers to explain the need for these products and why, despite negative headlines, they’re safe.
It will take real safety work and transparency to restore trust.
Editor’s Top Picks
- The cast of “Friends” issued a statement to People Monday night, two days after castmate Matthew Perry was found dead at age 54. The statement is simple and heartfelt, keeping the spotlight on Perry and his family:
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family. There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss.”
“In time we will say more, as and when we are able. For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”
- Canada has banned another app with ties to the Chinese government from government devices. WeChat, which CNN describes as “Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and PayPal all rolled into one,” is used by nearly 1 billion people, primarily in China. The Canadian government found that the app, along with Russian-aligned Kaspersky Lab products, poses safety risks on government devices. TikTok has already been banned on government-owned devices due to security concerns. Former President Donald Trump tried to ban WeChat in 2020, but the order never took effect. Still, look for other governments to consider similar bans.
- Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced crypto wunderkind, is now being asked to answer for many of his public statements and comments to the press on the witness stand in his fraud trial. The Wall Street Journal reported that Bankman-Fried was asked on cross examination to confirm both publicly released statements as well as interviews with both the Journal and the New York Times. While Bankman-Fried always kept his own counsel when it came to his voluminous media relations strategy, it’s a stark reminder that anything your clients say in interviews can and will be used against them in a court of law.