Bausch & Lomb settles 600 lawsuits

Bausch & Lomb has settled over 600 lawsuits over the last year, to the tune of $250 million. The suits are from patients who say they were exposed to the fungal infection Fusarium keratitis while using B&L's contact solution ReNu with MoistureLoc. "The culprit, an infection so rare that most eye doctors had never seen a case, somehow eluded MoistureLoc's disinfecting defenses," explains the Associated Press. The CDC confirmed 180 cases of the infection between June 2005 through September 2006. Seven people exposed to the fungus had to have an eye removed, while 60 more received corneal transplants.

B&L has been able to handle the lawsuits--and their financial repercussions--very quietly. The company went private in 2007 when it was bought out by Warburg Pincus, which allowed it to handle the recall and resulting lawsuits "without a lot of outside distraction," according to the company's CEO. Dozens more lawsuits over ReNu with MoistureLoc are still unresolved.

- here's the report