Health giant Johnson & Johnson has issued its ninth recall of a consumer health product in a year, this time covering millions of 1 Day Acuvue contact lenses sold in Japan and several other countries in Asia and in Europe.
Johnson & Johnson said it had received a limited number of complaints from customers in Japan that they experienced an unusual stinging or pain when inserting the Acuvue TruEye Brand contact lenses.
J&J, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, said it has not received any reports of customers suffering damage to their vision.
"The risk of long-term health consequences is very unlikely," Gary Esterow, spokesman for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., told The Associated Press.
100,000 boxes affected
He said the company estimates about 100,000 boxes were affected, with the boxes containing either 30 or 90 lenses each. The lenses were manufactured in Ireland.
Esterow attributed the problem to a failure of a piece of equipment during a procedure when the lenses are rinsed. He said only one manufacturing line was involved, but could not say how many lines manufacture the contacts.
The affected contact lenses were not sold in the US or Canada, he said. Most were sold in Japan.
Johnson & Johnson has issued eight previous recalls of non-prescription medicines in the US since last September, including children's Tylenol and millions of bottles of other pain relievers and cold medicines for children and adults.
Johnson & Johnson under scrutiny
As a result, Johnson & Johnson has been under scrutiny by Congress, FDA officials and federal prosecutors. The series of recalls covered products made at J&J's Fort Washington, Pa., plant and another in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico.
They have involved problems ranging from contamination with bacteria and a nauseating smell on containers to liquid medicines that may contain tiny metal shavings, and drugs that may not have the correct amount of active ingredient.
J&J shares rose 34 cents to $59.08 (about R437) in afternoon trading, on a day when large US pharmaceutical companies were up somewhat. (Sapa, Linda A Johnson, August 2010)
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