Issue: June 15, 2001
June 15, 2001
2 min read

Vistakon agrees to settle daily disposable contact lens suit

The manufacturer of Acuvue and 1-Day Acuvue has agreed to pay what could amount to $840 million and change the 1-Day packaging.

Issue: June 15, 2001
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CAMDEN, N.J. — Vistakon, a Johnson & Johnson company based in Jacksonville, Fla., has agreed to pay what could amount to $840 million to settle complaints that the company instructed consumers to discard after 1 day disposable contact lenses that could have been worn for up to 2 weeks.

The lawsuit, filed in New Jersey State Court, Camden County, in 1996, claimed that Vistakon's Acuvue and 1-Day Acuvue lenses are the same product, while 1-Day Acuvue costs much less than the 2-week version. According to the lawsuit, it was estimated that 6 million people who use contact lenses spent $1.1 billion since 1994 on lenses because of misleading advertising.

In a statement, the company said: “The company is settling this case for a very modest outlay to put the uncertainty of litigation behind it. Acuvue and 1-Day Acuvue are different lenses in a number of respects, and we have always accurately stated both the similarities and the differences between the two lenses.” Vistakon has agreed to remove the words “disposable” and “for single use” from the 1-Day Acuvue packaging.

If the court approves the proposed settlement, J&J would be required to advertise on the Internet and with toll-free telephone numbers to tell consumers how to apply for compensation.

“We expect the payout to consumers to be very small, and the amount of attorneys' fees ($17 million) and costs ($3 million) we agreed to pay is relatively negligible in the context of plaintiffs' class action suits of this type,” said the company. “Vistakon spent more than $200 million to develop technology that allowed it to bring 1-Day Acuvue to market as the world's first contact lens to make daily disposal an affordable reality.”

Company spokesman Jeff Leebaw said that the figure of $840 million comes from a formula based on the number of potential members of the class. He said J&J believes it is a distorted figure that would only be accurate “if every single individual were to pursue compensation in this case,” he said.

“Ultimately, the cost of a settlement will be determined by the number of eligible consumers who pursue compensation. We don't know what that number will be,” he continued. “Vistakon continues to believe it did nothing wrong, but it is pursuing a fair and reasonable settlement to put the litigation behind it and to move forward with the business of serving its customers.”

For Your Information:
  • Vistakon may be reached at 7596 Centurion Pkwy., Jacksonville, FL 32256; (904) 443-1726; (800) 874-5278; fax: (904) 443-1043; Web site: