RECALL ALERT: Ointments, dry eye drops, and allergy drops (Walmart Equate brand)

Posted by Rebecca Petris on


As of July 17, there are ~120 different products under 14 brands that have been recalled. We are now referring everyone to The Dry Eye Foundation where all of the recall information has been consolidated and is being updated daily as needed.

Altaire Ophthalmic Product Recalls


Original blog post:

New ointment woes

Many people with dry eye have been adversely impacted by the shortages of ointments and gels after Allergan stopped producing Refresh PM and Lacri-Lube ointments in 2017. The demand domino effect has resulted in severe shortages of almost all brands from time to time over the past 18 months. I've been tracking that on a blog post since early 2018. 

Yesterday, this problem was compounded by a massive recall notice about Walmart's Equate brand drops and ointments produced by Altaire Pharmaceuticals. Among those recalled is Walmart's Equate Restore PM Nighttime Lubricant Eye Ointment.

Altaire's generic ointments - Walmart Equate, and ActivEyes - are, to the best of my knowledge, the only ointments left on the market that are almost identical to Refresh PM - that is, the same proportion of petrolatum and mineral oil. For this reason, many people have preferred them over competing "name brand" ointments, which all have more petrolatum. So this is a blow. I can only hope that Allergan will get their product back on the market when they say they will i.e. in the course of the summer. Meantime, for more information on alternatives, please refer to my blog here. Your doctor should be able to recommend a substitute if you cannot get what you need, and social media dry eye groups are helpful for finding what is or is not available locally.

What you should do

Please check the press release (for convenience, I have listed the affected products/lots below as well for the ointments) and check anything you have in your supplies against those lot numbers. If you find any matches, please follow the manufacturer's instructions, which say:

"Customers with questions regarding this recall can contact Altaire Pharmaceuticals Inc., by calling 1-800-258-2471, or e-mailing Monday thru Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET.  Customers should contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have experienced any problems that may be related to taking or using this drug product."

What the recall means (and doesn't)

It does NOT mean that there is something known to be wrong with actual products. Here is what they said:

"To date, Altaire has received no reports of adverse events, nor has Altaire obtained any out of specifications  results  including Sterility testing, for the products."

It DOES mean that something is wrong with the standards in place at the time that the products in these lots were produced, resulting in potential for nonsterility:

"As a precautionary measure, Altaire is initiating the recall due to management concerns regarding the sufficiency of Quality Assurance controls over critical systems in the manufacturing facility."

Please check for these products 

The following products and lot numbers were included in the recall notice. PLEASE CHECK for these among your supplies and follow the instructions given by the manufacturer in the press release:

 Product Affected lots Expiration
Equate Restore PM Nighttime Lubricant Eye Ointment W-M itemt #551282425 NDC #49035-191-50 Size: 3.5g
SKG 8/21
SHK 8/21
SHJ 8/21
SEC 5/21
SCB 3/21
SBC 2/21
RLB 12/20
RBB 2/20
RHR 8/20
RFK 6/20
RAB 1/20
TAD 1/22
TAQ 1/22
TBI 2/22
TDB 4/22
QHE 8/19
QJD 10/19
SGE 7/21
Equate Sterile Lubricant Stye Ointment W-M #563031651 NDC #49035-875-50
SFE 6/21
SIA 9/21
RIE 9/20
REH 5/20
RAD 1/20
TAH 1/22
TDD 4/22
Equate Restore Tears Lubricant Eye Drops Twin Pack W-M # 552374320 NDC #49035-189-49 Size 2x15mL 4 lots expiring between 7/2019 and 2/2021 Please see press release for details
Equate Eye Allergy Relief  Drops  W-M item #: 567371432  NDC #: 49035-887-13  Package Size: 15 mL
15 lots expiring between 3/2020 and 5/2021
Please see press release for details
Equate Comfort Gel Lubricant Eye Gel Twin Pack W-M item #: 552374319 NDC #: 49035-197-49   Package Size: 2 x 15 mL
6 lots expiring between 8/2019 and 2/2021
Please see press release for details
Equate Night & Day Restore Tears Lubricant Eye Pack W-M #567368000 NDC #49035-883-59 Sizes 3.5g and 15mL 4 lots expiring between 2/2020 and 2/2021
Please see press release for details
Equate Support Advanced Twin Pack  W-M item #: 567371433 NDC #: 49035-885-49  Package Size: 2 x 15 mL
2 lots expiring between 1/2022 and 5/2022
Please see press release for details
Equate Support Advanced Lubricant Eye Drops Dose Preservative Free W-M #563031654 NDC #49035-882-54 Size 25 ct 7 lots expiring between 9/2019 and 2/2021
Please see press release for details
Equate Support Advanced Lubricant Gel Drops Multi Dose Preservative Free W-M #567367998 NDC #49035-882-52 Size 7.5mL 4 lots expiring between 5/2020 and 4/2021
Please see press release for details
Equate Support Moisture Lubricant Eye Drops  W-M item #: 553503238 NDC #:  49035-145-10   Package Size:10 mL
5 lots expiring between 12/2019 and 1/2021
Please see press release for details
Support Harmony Lubricant Eye Drops  W-M item #: 553503238   NDC #:  49035-145-10   Package Size: 10 mL (discontinued Jan 2018)
Lot 17290 expiring 9/2019
Please see press release for details

Is Activeyes ointment affected?

The Activeyes ointment that we sell at the dry eye shop (which we brought in specifically because of the Refresh PM shortage) is made by Altaire. We have not received any notice of any recall affecting this product, but we have discontinued it pre-emptively, at least until we can verify status. If you have any concerns, please contact us. 

Related recalls

6 prescription ointments plus Puralube OTC
5 Walgreens products (drops, ointments, sodium chloride drops/ointment)

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  • Hello,
    When will the Equate Comfort Gel dropa be available ? I really need them!

    Barbara B3 on

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