August 23, 2010 / 1:56 PM / 10 years ago

J&J recalling contact lenses in Japan, Europe

* Follows customer complaints about eye stinging

* Voluntary recall of an estimated 100,000 boxes

* Johnson & Johnson shares up nearly 1 percent

NEW YORK, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), which has been beset with recalls of its over-the-counter medicines, is voluntarily recalling contact lenses in Japan and elsewhere in Asia and Europe following customer complaints.

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care is recalling an estimated 100,000 boxes of its 1 Day Acuvue TruEye lenses manufactured in Ireland, the company said on Monday. It said customers had complained of an unusual stinging or pain upon inserting the lenses.

J&J said that upon investigating, it found an isolated failure of one piece of equipment used during the lens-rinsing process in a select number of lots.

Long-term health consequences from the lenses are “unlikely,” the company said. It said the financial impact of the recall was not significant.

Besides the recall, J&J suspended shipments of affected lots still in its control. Most of the affected product is in Japan, where authorities were formally notified last week, J&J said.

Some countries in Asia and Europe also may have a limited number of affected lenses, J&J said, and the company was working with regulators.

No other markets are affected, including the United States, where a version of the lens is made with a different material, the company said.

J&J’s reputation has been tarnished in the past year by numerous recalls of Tylenol, Motrin and other nonprescription medicine brands, leading to the closure in April of a plant in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.

J&J shares were up 0.9 percent at $59.28 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The latest recall could be a slight positive for Cooper Cos Inc’s (COO.N) daily disposable lens business, Wells Fargo analyst Larry Biegelsen said in a research note. Cooper shares rose 1.6 percent. (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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