Crisis Management at Bausch & Lomb (B): The 'ReNu with Moistureloc' Debacle

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG171
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 2005-2007
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Bausch & Lomb
Industry : Eye Care
Countries : Europe, USA, Asia

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note

B&L's history can be traced back to 1853 when a German immigrant, John Jacob Bausch (Bausch), set up a small optical goods shop in Rochester, New York, USA. As the business grew, Bausch formed a partnership with his friend Henry Lomb. Initially, B&L manufactured rubber eyeglass frames and other optical products. Over the years, B&L became widely popular due to its technologically superior optical products. The company also introduced innovative optical products such as the first soft contact lenses (in 1971). As of April 2006, B&L was the largest global provider of eye care products. The product line of B&L included Vision Care, Surgical, and Pharmaceuticals...

Marketing Management Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Marketing Management, Case Studies

B&L Withdraws 'ReNu Moistureloc'

On May 15, 2006, B&L announced that it had permanently recalled MoistureLoc from the market worldwide (Refer to Exhibit II for the B&L press release announcing the withdrawal of ReNu with MoistureLoc). This was because on May 11, 2006, officials of B&L met FDA and said that its internal investigations had suggested that under "certain unusual circumstances," MoistureLoc could increase the risk of keratitis. It told FDA that on the basis of these investigations, it wanted to recall the product globally...

'ReNu Moistureloc' Finally Implicated?

In August 2006, the CDC investigators published a research report entitled Multistate Outbreak of Fusarium Keratitis Associated with use of Contact Lens Solution in the August 23/30 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The report challenged the argument forwarded by B&L that poor lens care practices adopted by the users were responsible for the infection. The report claimed that individual user practices were not relevant in the incidences of the fungal infection...

B&L's Business affected by the Debacle

MoistureLoc was a US$100 million-a-year brand in 2005. In the US alone, it was estimated that out of the 30 million odd people who wore contact lenses, about 2.3 million used MoistureLoc. The recall meant that B&L would lose a major driver of its revenue. But the impact went beyond that and affected the company's entire lens care business. The controversy surrounding MoistureLoc took its toll on B&L's market share in the lens care market and share prices even before the product recall...

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