COVID-19 Crisis Response Tactics: Bausch Health Companies, Cherry Optical Lab, Super Optical

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VM brings you the latest information from optical companies and organizations responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Bausch Health Companies (NYSE/TSX: BHC) outlined several initiatives the company is taking to contribute to the fight against COVID-19, including actively donating medicines and health care products to assist in the global effort to combat COVID-19. The company also is pursuing research to determine if products in its portfolio may offer valuable treatment options. In the U.S., the company's gastroenterology business Salix Pharmaceuticals is working with key opinion leaders to initiate investigative trials to evaluate Xifaxan (rifaximin) in combination with established therapies, supportive care and other investigative therapies to potentially address the symptoms of gastrointestinal distress and pulmonary compromise associated with COVID-19 infection. If the trials demonstrate Xifaxan is successful in resolving these symptoms or reducing the duration of COVID-19, the Bausch Foundation will donate Xifaxan to various hospitals.

In addition, Bausch Health’s Patient Assistance Program (PAP) continues to ensure that eligible U.S. patients in need who lack health insurance coverage for certain Bausch Health medicines are able to access their prescription medicines. During this time when many health care offices are not operating on regular schedules, the PAP has increased its efforts to work with patients and physicians' offices to ensure patients have uninterrupted access to their medicines.

In Europe, Bausch is ramping up the manufacturing of chloroquine and azithromycin and is seeking emergency access in certain countries with the goal of donating these products where and when needed.

In Italy, the Bausch Foundation is making available for donation its antiviral Virazole for nebulization in compassionate use in Italian hospitals. In Spain, the foundation is making available for donation Artelac Splash eye drops for use in local hospitals.

In Wuhan, China, health care providers treating patients with COVID-19 reported that they were hindered by fogging eyeglasses while wearing protective gear, such as goggles, face masks and containment suits. Bausch’s global eye health business Bausch + Lomb responded by donating Biotrue ONEday daily disposable contact lenses to these health care providers.

Cherry Optical Lab in Green Bay, Wis. remains open for business, having been exempted from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ order to close all non-essential businesses in the state to slow the spread of COVID-19. According to a review by Wisconsin officials, Cherry Optical Lab qualifies as an “essential” business as a critical part of the supply chain for services that Healthcare and Public Health Operations. “We are maintaining operations at the laboratory in Green Bay to meet the needs of our customers during this challenging time; production and customer service remain online,” company president Adam Cherry said in a message to customers.

Super Optical announced it temporarily closed its manufacturing facility in Cincinnati, Ohio “for the safety of its employees.” The facility will stay closed at least through April 6, and until the danger of exposure in Ohio has decreased,” the company said. The company released a statement saying that its front office and shipping will continue to operate with decreased staff.

According to the statement, “Maintaining distance and regular deep cleans will occur to keep existing staff safe. Because the manufacturing facility is closed, orders will be restricted to current stock and supply. Additionally, FastGrind customers will be eligible for free FastGrind lenses needed for any patients that are classified as medical workers or first responders. All FastGrind orders should be emailed to orders@superoptical.com or faxed to (513) 672-1126. Questions or any support requirements should be directed to Hugh McManus, manager of operations, at Hugh@superoptical.com.