Eyedrops maker couldn’t ensure factory was sterile, FDA says

April 4, 2023  -WASHINGTON (AP) — The manufacturer of eyedrops recently linked to deaths and injuries lacked measures to assure sterility at its factory in India, according to U.S. health inspectors. Food and Drug Administration officials uncovered about a dozen problems with how Global Pharma Healthcare made and tested its eyedrops during an inspection from late February through early March. The FDA released its preliminary inspection report Monday.

The company uses procedures that can’t actually ensure its products are sterile, FDA staff wrote. In particular, the inspectors found that the plant had used “a deficient manufacturing process” between December 2020 and April 2022 for products that were later shipped to the U.S.

The plant in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state produced eyedrops that have been linked to 68 bacterial infections in the U.S., including three deaths and eight cases of vision loss. Four people have had their eyeballs surgically removed due to infection. The drops were recalled in February by two U.S. distributors, EzriCare and Delsam Phama.

Inspectors arrived at the plant Feb. 20, more than two weeks after the announcement of the first eyedrop recall on Feb. 3. The inspection appears to be the FDA’s first visit to the plant, according to agency records.

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