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The LifeStyle Company Acquires PuriLens CL-Care System
MORGANVILLE, N.J.-- Sep. 10, 2002 - The LifeStyle Company has acquired the assets of PuriLens, manufacturer of the PuriLens contact-lens-care system. The LifeStyle Company plans to continue to manufacture and market the PuriLens system, launched in the U.S. in 1999. The acquisition marks continued expansion into the CL market for The LifeStyle Company, which recently launched its LifeStyle Toric Bifocal planned-replacement soft CLs. The LifeStyle Company will honor any outstanding PuriLens warranty; both companies will handle PuriLens inquiries and orders.
Nat'l Vision Adds Charge for One-Hour Service in Wal-Mart Opticals
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga.-- Aug. 29, 2002 - Reade Fahs, president/COO of 518-unit National Vision since April 15, recently implemented a $10 additional charge for one-hour eyeglass service in the chain's 400 domestic Wal-Mart Vision Centers. Fahs declined to say what percentage of customers have opted for one-hour service since the charge was put in place early last month.
National Vision also shifted from package pricing to separate prices for frames and lenses in all of its leased Wal-Mart optical departments as of July 1.
Court Ruling Favors CIBA in CL Patent Suit
LOS ANGELES--Aug. 26, 2002 - The U.S. District Court for the central district of California has granted CIBA Vision, the eyecare unit of Novartis a judgment of infringement in a patent suit against CooperVision filed in April 2001. The court granted CIBA subsidiary Wesley Jessen's motion for summary judgment of infringement and found that Cooper Vision's Frequency Colors and Expressions lenses sold in the U.S. infringe a W-J patent. A trial in the case is set for October 15.
FDA May Reclassify Plano Color CLs as 'Cosmetics'
WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Aug. 24, 2002 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reportedly considering reclassifying non-Rx tinted contact lenses as "cosmetics" rather than medical devices for which a prescription is required, their current FDA status. In a letter this week to Tommy Thompson, secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, American Optometric Assn. president J. Pat Cummings, OD, called the possibility of such a move an "ill-founded proposal." Noting that the FDA's own Web site warns consumers that "contact lenses that are not properly fitted by an eye doctor might not work well, or even worse, may harm your eyes," Cummings said on behalf of the A.O.A., "We are deeply concerned that such a move will unnecessarily endanger the health of the public."
The A.O.A. has noted a rash of eye problems caused by Plano color CLs purchased by consumers, frequently teenagers, from unregulated sources.
B&L PureVision Production Shut Down as CIBA Prevails in Federal Court
WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Aug. 8, 2002 - Bausch & Lomb has again been forced to shut down manufacture and sale of its PureVision contact lenses in the U.S. following an August 2 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals here denying B&L's request for a permanent stay of an earlier injunction. The June 26 injunction came in a patent-infringement lawsuit by Wesley Jessen, a subsidiary of CIBA Vision, the eyecare unit of Novartis, involving B&L's PureVision silicone-hydrogel CL technology. This latest court decision takes PureVision lenses off the market in the U.S. for at least six to eight months. B&L said it will shift PureVision production from its Rochester, N.Y. plant to its facility in Waterford, Ireland, to supply the overseas market for the lens while appealing the decision. The company will use current PureVision inventories to fill overseas orders during the manufacturing transition, expected to take several months. U.S. sales must end during the appeals process, which could take six to 18 months, B&L said.
B&L to Trim Product Line, Consolidate Manufacturing/Distributing
ROCHESTER, N.Y.-- Jul. 29, 2002 - As part of a continuing plan to increase operating profitability, Bausch &Lomb will consolidate its warehousing and distribution operations, resulting in a loss of 450 jobs worldwide. The company will also discontinue 6,000 unprofitable contact-lens SKUs and 3,800 intraocular implant SKUs by the end of 2003; specific products to be cut will be announced next month. B&L will close plants in Barcelona, Spain, and Umsong, Korea, consolidating manufacturing of oxygen-permeable Contact Lenses in its Hastings, U.K., facility. It will also transfer manufacture of Optima FW Contact Lenses from its plant here to a single location in Waterford, Ireland. The Rochester plant will focus on manufacturing newer-technology products such as bifocal Contact Lenses; B&L will continue to emphasize planned-replacement and disposable Contact Lenses, the company said. B&L also plans to close its distribution center in St. Louis in 2003, consolidating functions at its Lynchburg, Va. facility. Surgical and contact-lens products will be handled in Lynchburg, while a distribution center in Greenville, S.C., will continue to handle solutions and pharmaceutical distribution. Associated restructuring charges and asset write-offs are expected to be as much as $20 million, recorded in B&L's 2002 third quarter. Earlier this year B&L had restructuring charges and asset write-offs totaling $23.5 million.

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