California Case Alleges Advanced Medical Optics Falsely Advertised Effectiveness of Product
(Santa Ana, CA) June 8, 2007 — What is believed to be the first class action lawsuit brought in the United States against the manufacturer of Complete® MoisturePlus™ contact lens solution was filed today in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, California. The product was voluntarily recalled on May 25 at the request of the Food & Drug Administration in the wake of reports of an association between the solution and serious corneal infections.
The lawsuit, naming ocular products manufacturer Advanced Medical Optics, Inc. and others as defendants, was brought by Nicole Lazar on behalf of California consumers who purchased the product but have not alleged physical injuries. The case lawsuit seeks reimbursement of money consumers spent to purchase the product. In addition, the action seeks reimbursement for the cost of replacing potentially contaminated contact lenses and lens cases as a result of FDA’s recommendation that these products also be discarded by anyone who has used them in conjunction with Complete® MoisturePlus™.
The lawsuit alleges that AMO falsely marketed the solution as an effective contact lens disinfectant against infection-causing microbes. The complaint cites CDC data showing that consumers who disinfected their lenses with Complete® MoisturePlus™ had a seven-fold increased risk of developing a sight-threatening condition known as Acanthamoeba keratitis as compared with consumers who used other lens disinfectant products. The illness, which usually affects the corneas of contact lens wearers, is caused by a family of microorganisms most commonly found in soil and water. The infection can be chronic, resistant to treatment, and often requires surgical interventions such as corneal transplantation. It may lead to blindness.
Complete® MoisturePlus™ is one of a number of so-called “all-in-one” or “multipurpose” contact lens solutions developed as “more convenient” alternatives to hydrogen peroxide disinfectant systems. According to the class action complaint, studies published well before the product was recalled showed that the disinfectant in Complete® MoisturePlus™ was vastly inferior to hydrogen peroxide as well as other solutions on the market in eradicating Acanthamoeba. The class action alleges that AMO was aware of the ineffectiveness of their product but concealed that information from consumers who were led to believe that the solution was at least as effective as others on the market.
“Injured consumers will be able to bring their own individual cases, but there also needs to be a remedy for those who escaped infection, but were nevertheless persuaded by AMO’s marketing campaign to purchase an inferior product,” said noted Newport Beach attorney Mark P. Robinson, whose firm Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson is acting as co-lead counsel on the case with Thomas M. Moore of Moore Labriola LLP, also based in Newport Beach. Moore’s firm along with Schmidt & Clark in Dallas, Texas represent the plaintiff in the first personal injury case against AMO filed this past Monday on behalf of a San Diego man who developed Acanthamoeba keratitis and suffered sight loss after using the now-recalled Complete® MoisturePlus™ solution. Robinson, Moore, and Schmidt say they are reviewing a number of potential claims and expect additional personal injury cases to be filed in the near future.