Eye drops sold at Walmart are now considered potentially dangerous, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Equate Hydration PF Lubricant Eye Drop 10 mL is being removed from Walmart shelves and online marketplace due to the risk of eye infections that could result in vision loss. This comes after federal health regulators issued a warning last week about 26 other products meant to treat dry or irritated eyes. An investigation revealed "insanitary conditions" in the manufacturer's facility, which could contaminate the sterile products.
The FDA also reported positive bacterial test results from environmental sampling in critical drug production areas of the facility. However, the agency has not disclosed the specific bacteria found and has not linked this warning to a prior outbreak of antibiotic-resistant bacteria related to eye products from Global Pharma Healthcare.
The previously listed products were sold under various brands, including CVS Health, Leader, Rugby, Rite Aid, Velocity Pharma, and Target's Up & Up brand. CVS, Rite Aid, and Target were already in the process of removing these products from their store shelves and online marketplaces. However, the FDA cautioned that products branded as Leader, Rugby, and Velocity may still be available for purchase.
So far, there have been no reports of eye infections related to these products. However, consumers experiencing signs or symptoms of an eye infection after using these products are advised to seek immediate medical care. Symptoms of an eye infection include irritated or red eyes, worsening pain, light sensitivity, blurry vision, or unusual watery eyes or discharge.
CVS and Cardinal Health, the company behind Leader and Rugby brands, have taken action in response to the FDA's warning. CVS immediately pulled products supplied by Velocity Pharma and is offering refunds to consumers. Cardinal Health has placed all impacted eye drop products on hold and is working with Velocity Pharma and the FDA to initiate a recall.
Walmart, Rite Aid, Target, and Velocity Pharma have not yet responded to requests for comment. The FDA encourages patients to report any adverse events or quality problems related to medicines through its MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.