Merck Agrees to Settlement Regarding AzaSite
According to reports from Reuters and other sources, U.S. authorities announced that Merck & Co. Inc. has agreed to pay $5.9 million to resolve claims that Inspire Pharmaceuticals, formerly owned by Merck, fraudulently promoted AzaSite (azithromycin) for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to a federal suit filed in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York Manhattan, though AzaSite was FDA-approved in 2007 solely to treat bacterial conjunctivitis, Inspire marketed the drug for the non-approved treatment of blepharitis. The lawsuit alleged that Inspire misled physicians with claims that the drug had anti-inflammatory properties not backed by supporting evidence. The settlement resolves allegations that this marketing caused the submission of false claims for reimbursement by the Medicaid program and other federal programs. The settlement includes civil restitution for damages to various state Medicaid programs and other federal healthcare programs.
A spokesperson from Merck noted that the conduct occurred prior to Merck acquiring Inspire, which it later sold to Akorn Inc. in 2013.
AO Colors Two-Packs Available
Two-count packages of Alcon’s Air Optix Colors contact lenses are available in the United States until Sept. 30, 2015 or while supplies last. Packages of two lenses will be available in all nine colors and in the full range of available lens powers, including plano. Patients who purchase a two-count package from practitioners or Internet retailers through Sept. 30 are eligible to receive a $10 rebate gift card.
Alcon Launches Clear Care Plus
Alcon recently announced the U.S. launch of Clear Care Plus Cleaning & Disinfecting Solution containing HydraGlyde Moisture Matrix technology for cleaning and disinfecting contact lenses.
This next-generation formulation is designed to provide sustained moisture in addition to the disinfection efficacy of hydrogen peroxide. Alcon says the new formulation will cost only slightly more compared to the original Clear Care, which will continue to be available to consumers. However, starter kits will be switched to Clear Care Plus this month so that new patients can start with the latest formulation.
Clear Care Plus is now available for purchase over-the-counter in the United States. More information on this lens care solution will appear in next month’s Product Spectrum.
CooperVision Launches MyDay, Advantage Program
CooperVision, Inc. recently introduced MyDay silicone hydrogel daily disposable contact lenses to the U.S. market.
MyDay daily disposable lenses are made with Smart Silicone chemistry, which the company says optimizes oxygen permeability in a lens that is just 4.4% silicon—the lowest percentage of silicon found in a silicone hydrogel, daily disposable lens. It also enables a modulus of only 0.4 MPa—lower than any other one-day silicone hydrogel lens.
With a smooth lens surface and rounded edge, CooperVision says that MyDay contact lenses incorporate an advanced lens design to provide a more natural feeling as the eyelid glides over the lens.
CooperVision first introduced MyDay in Europe in June 2013, then rolled out distribution to Australia and New Zealand in early 2014.
More information on the MyDay lens will appear in next month’s Product Spectrum.
In other news, CooperVision unveiled CooperVision Advantage, an inclusive set of business tools designed to support practice growth. CooperVision Advantage aims to add new patients, minimize the non-clinical reasons for patient loss, and ensure that practitioners have access to the most comprehensive portfolio of contact lenses to provide options for every eye.
At launch, CooperVision Advantage brings together a number of tools including EyeCare Prime (which includes WebSystem3), Premier, and LensFerry services. The program also includes the company’s promotional and loyalty programs, training and education initiatives, and other value-added services. Other services are expected to be added over time.
FDA Clears NovaBay Pharmaceuticals’ Intelli-Case
NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced receipt of 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market its novel Intelli-Case with hydrogen peroxide solutions.
The Intelli-Case monitors the neutralization of hydrogen peroxide during the disinfection cycle with sophisticated microprocessor electronics embedded in the cap of what otherwise looks like a standard peroxide lens case. The high-tech cap has three LED lights labeled UNSAFE, BUSY, and READY. Lenses are placed into the case with hydrogen peroxide solution. The green light (READY) blinks when lenses are safe to apply onto the eyes and continues to blink green until contact lenses are removed from the case.
Many Come Together for BCLA’s 39th Conference
The British Contact Lens Association’s (BCLA) 39th Clinical Conference & Exhibition saw the global contact lens community “Come Together” in Liverpool for three days of clinical and scientific education, networking, and business brainstorming.
Held at the ACC Liverpool from May 29 to 31, #BCLAComeTogether delivered a record 69 CET points and seven COPE-accredited sessions for North American delegates. Attendance figures exceeded all expectations, with a record number of delegates registering onsite for the full conference.
The inaugural BCLA Myopia Management Day took place on May 29, bringing together a global “who’s who” of the field. It included a live ortho-k fitting, lectures, and a session in which delegates were asked to “treat or correct,” to consider potential rebound effects of any treatments.
The three-day program also included a wide selection of specialist symposia, educational courses, a dedicated business track, rapid-fire sessions, sponsor showcases, and a product and technology exhibition.
Professor Fiona Stapleton received the 2015 BCLA Medal; Benjamin Coldrick was the 2015 Da Vinci Award winner; and Drs. Nicole Carnt and Simon Kilvington received the 2015 Dallos Award.
Tony Martin, known as “The Father of Acuvue,” was named the winner of the 2015 BCLA Industry Award.
The 40th BCLA Clinical Conference and Exhibition is planned to take place in 2017.
Valeant Acquires Paragon
Paragon Vision Sciences was recently acquired by Valeant Pharmaceuticals. No details on the acquisition are available, and both companies declined to comment.
IACLE Presents Lifetime Achievement Award
The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) has presented the first-ever IACLE Award for Lifetime Achievement in Contact Lens Education. Professor Desmond Fonn received the award at a dinner at Manchester Museum on May 27 to mark the Third IACLE World Congress (held May 24 to 28).
Professor Fonn’s contribution to global contact lens education includes being a founding member of IACLE and its vice president for 15 years. He also served as editor in chief of the first edition of the IACLE Contact Lens Course (ICLC). And in 1994 and 2002, he organized the previous two IACLE World Congresses.
A Distinguished Emeritus Professor at the University of Waterloo, Canada, Professor Fonn joined the university in 1986 and was founding director of its Centre for Contact Lens Research (CCLR). He retired from the university’s School of Optometry in 2010.
MidSouth Premier to Distribute VTI Lenses
Visioneering Technologies, Inc. (VTI), manufacturers of NaturalVue (etafilcon A) Multifocal 1 Day Daily Disposable contact lenses, has tapped industry leader MidSouth Premier Ophthalmics, Inc. (MSPO) as its exclusive national distributor. VTI says that MSPO has differentiated itself through outstanding customer service and that MSPO met VTI’s need for a distribution partner that personalizes the purchase of its lenses with ease of access and outstanding customer support.
NaturalVue Multifocal 1 Day contact lenses, introduced in March, are in the process of a limited launch in select regional markets, with a national rollout continuing into 2016.
Key services available through MSPO include expanded hours, knowledgeable and friendly customer service, access to a range of ordering services and software interface platforms, and free direct-to-patient shipping for annual supply orders.
Alden Optical Launches Contact Lens Residents Forum
Alden Optical has created a new program that is designed to assist Cornea & Contact Lens Residents with maximizing their residency experience so they can transition easily into practice. Brooke Messer, OD, FSLS, will head the Contact Lens Residents Forum (CLRF). Dr. Messer is an opinion leader in specialty contact lenses and a former Cornea and Contact Lens Resident at the Southern California College of Optometry. She has a special interest in helping current and recent residents through these formative years.
The CLRF will primarily utilize social media including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ to connect with, and foster discussion among, residents. For more information on this forum, contact Dr. Messer at email@example.com or visit the CLRF Facebook page.
GSLS Call for Papers, Posters, and Photos
The Program Committee of the Global Specialty Lens Symposium, which will take place Jan. 21 to 24, 2016 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, invites the submission of papers and posters. Papers and abstracts related to presbyopia, keratoconus, corneal topography, post-penetrating keratoplasty, or related irregular corneal surface, myopia control, orthokeratology, and lens care topics are welcome.
To enter a photo for the photo contest, submit up to two photographic images in the following anterior segment categories: 1) Contact Lens and 2) Cornea/Conjunctiva/Lids. Entrants may also submit images obtained utilizing such equipment as OCT, topographers, etc.
The deadline for submissions is Aug. 31, 2015; web submissions only. Visit www.GSLSymposium.com for more information.
■ SpecialEyes, LLC introduced a Web-based Multifocal Simulator tool to help practitioners achieve optimal outcomes when designing and prescribing the SpecialEyes 54 Multifocal custom soft contact lens. Based on the user’s specified parameters, the proprietary software program automatically calculates the appropriate multifocal zones and simulates the potential visual performance of the custom multifocal or toric multifocal contact lenses. SpecialEyes’ Multifocal Simulator requires only three basic parameters: multifocal type (near center or distance center), add power, and pupil size to calculate the lens. Eyecare practitioners can access the Multifocal Simulator tool, view video tutorials, and sign up for a free five-day email course by visiting www.specialeyesqc.com.
■ Art Optical has again partnered with Laboratoire Precilens of Paris to bring another specialty contact lens to its U.S. customer base. The mutual agreement gives Art Optical manufacturing and distribution rights to the Expert Progressive GP multifocal lens, a contact lens designed to perform like a progressive spectacle lens. Art Optical has been selling the BiExpert Bifocal GP from Precilens since 2009. The Expert Progressive design features slab-off GP lens technology, creating a thinner, uniform edge profile 360º around the circumference of the lens, resulting in less lid awareness and improved comfort. This progressive multifocal GP lens transitions seamlessly and allows no compromise of near or distance vision while providing crisp, clear intermediate vision. Art Optical will manufacture Expert Progressive lenses exclusively in Boston (Bausch + Lomb) GP materials.
■ Alden Optical has announced that effective June 8, 2015, ABB Optical Group began distributing Alden’s Zenlens scleral lens design. With the addition of Zenlens, ABB Optical Group is now ready to support all Alden Optical manufactured product. Practitioners can now choose to work directly with Alden Optical on Zenlens fits or to continue working with ABB Optical Group. Practitioners interested in Zenlens should contact either Alden Optical or their ABB Optical Group consultant or sales representative.
■ Professor Nathan Efron was recently made a Companion of the Order of Australia, the highest national honor awarded to Australian citizens. He was honored “for eminent service to medicine in the field of clinical optometry, particularly to vision correction and corneal physiology, as an academic, researcher and author, to the treatment of juvenile diabetes, and through executive roles with national and international professional organisations.” Professor Efron is currently a research professor at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. He is also president of the Australian College of Optometry and vice president of the International Society for Contact Lens Research.
■ CooperVision, Inc. has appointed Simon Seshadri to the position of vice president, North America Marketing. In this role, Mr. Seshadri will be responsible for overseeing regional marketing strategies, including the development of product launches, ongoing programs, promotions, and demand creation initiatives. He joined CooperVision in 2014 as senior director, Global Brand Marketing, for which he had global responsibility for the Biofinity and Avaira contact lens brands. Earlier this year, he took on additional responsibilities as the interim vice president, North America Marketing.
■ OcuSoft Inc. launched its newly redesigned website at www.ocusoft.com. The new website showcases not only the company’s central focus on eye care, but also its continued expansion into other markets with a wide selection of products — ranging from eyelid cleansers and artificial tears to cosmetics and office supplies — to meet the needs of healthcare professionals and patients alike. Along with a fresh look, the new website is mobile friendly, has a more user-friendly interface, improved navigation functions, simple search options, access to order history, and a secure online shopping cart. The site also hosts useful resources, including product instructions, videos, patient testimonials, current news, and professional journal articles.
■ In an effort to educate both children and parents about the importance of eye exams for children, Alcon’s The EyeSolution and Opti-Free Solution are offering a free interactive e-book, “Howard and the Amazing Eye Exam.” Written with the help of Catherine McDaniel, OD, MS, FAAO, the book features the story of Harold the Hedgehog at his first eye exam, where he learns that a visit to the eye doctor is not scary, but fun. The e-book will be available on July 15, 2015 at theeyesolution.com for download to tablets or computers.