Bausch & Lomb, Alcon settle lawsuit

September 6, 2007

Rochester, NY-Bausch & Lomb Inc. and Alcon Laboratories Inc. have settled a lawsuit filed by Bausch & Lomb over promotional claims made by Alcon related to a Bausch & Lomb multipurpose contact lens disinfecting solution (ReNu MultiPlus), according to a joint statement issued by the companies.

Rochester, NY-Bausch & Lomb Inc. and Alcon Laboratories Inc. have settled a lawsuit filed by Bausch & Lomb over promotional claims made by Alcon related to a Bausch & Lomb multipurpose contact lens disinfecting solution (ReNu MultiPlus), according to a joint statement issued by the companies.

The civil suit, filed June 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, centered on Alcon’s use of a rating-system chart showing differences in superficial punctate transient corneal staining profiles observed in the Alcon-funded research of Gary Andrasko, OD. As reported in detail in the July 15 issue of Ophthalmology Times, the chart has been used for more than a year to inform physicians about corneal staining data associated with certain combinations of contact lenses and lens-care solutions. According to the chart, the Bausch & Lomb solution caused stains to 73% of corneas 2 hours after it was combined with Bausch & Lomb’s hydrogel (SofLens 66) and silicone hydrogel (PureVision) lenses. Staining levels with both lenses were considered “excessive,” and 93% and 100% of patients tested, respectively, were listed in the red-colored “biocompatibility zone” on the chart, indicating an incompatible lens/solution combination.

Bausch & Lomb had described the chart as “false and misleading” and had sought unspecified damages for lost sales and corrective advertising. To address Bausch & Lomb’s concern over the use of red and yellow in Dr. Andrasko’s corneal staining grid, Alcon has agreed to change these colors in the chart in its promotional materials, said the companies.

“The use of the color scheme in Alcon’s materials was not intended to communicate that the lens-solution combinations designated red or yellow meant danger or caution, and was not meant to suggest an increased risk of corneal infection,” according to the joint statement. “There are several factors that may contribute to the risk of corneal infection, and the parties acknowledge that there is no clinical evidence that the differences in corneal staining observed by Dr. Andrasko increase the risk of infection.”

The lawsuit was dismissed without either party paying damages to the other, according to the companies.