FDA Issues Warning: Contaminated 'Copycat' Eye Drops Pose Infection Risk for Consumers

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The FDA has issued a warning advising consumers against using South Moon, Rebright, or FivFivGo eye drops due to potential contamination and infection risk

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urging consumers to take another look at the packaging for their eye drops.

In a press release on Wednesday, the FDA cautioned against buying or using South Moon, Rebright, or FivFivGo brand eye drops due to the potential risk of eye infection.

The federal agency highlights that the packaging of these "copycat" brands closely resembles that of Bausch + Lomb's Lumify brand eye drops. Lumify is an FDA-approved over-the-counter product designed for redness relief.

FDA-shared photos depict the striking resemblance of the unapproved brands' packaging to Lumify's distinctive gray-and-purple packaging. Lumify's packaging includes an illustration of a woman's eye.

The FDA advises consumers to discard these copycat products, emphasizing that individuals displaying signs or symptoms of an eye infection should promptly consult their healthcare provider or seek immediate medical attention.

FDA testing of South Moon and Rebright eye drops revealed that South Moon contained Burkholderia cepacia complex, a group of bacteria capable of causing antibiotic-resistant infections.

While Rebright tested negative for contamination, the FDA still recommends consumers refrain from using the product.

Both South Moon and Rebright eye drops were found to lack brimonidine tartrate, the active ingredient in Lumify. The FDA announcement notes the agency was unable to obtain FivFivGo samples for testing.

The agency highlighted that South Moon is labeled as being produced by the Chinese e-commerce company Shantou Cross-border Premium Products. However, the exact origin of the three brands remains "currently unclear," and the FDA states it is ongoing with its investigation.

The FDA notes it has not received specific reports of adverse events related to the three copycat brands. However, there have been reports concerning potentially fake Lumify, encompassing product quality concerns, eye irritation, pain, and infection.

As per the FDA press release, the agency advises consumers to purchase eye products solely from reputable retailers, such as state-licensed pharmacies. Additionally, caution is urged against online retailers selling products with false claims.

Last November, ABC News reported that numerous eye drop brands were removed from retail shelves earlier in the year due to bacterial and fungal contamination, prompting multiple warnings from the FDA.

The FDA warning issued at that time encompassed over two dozen eye drops sold by prominent retailers, including CVS Health, Rite Aid, and Target.

Experts and advocates suggested that a likely reason for the contamination was the significant reduction in in-person facility inspections during the pandemic, leading to diminished regulatory oversight.