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International

Eyelash enhancer side effects lead to lawsuit

04/06/2018
A US Skincare company is facing a federal class action lawsuit for allegedly violating consumer protection laws related to its over-the-counter eyelash serum Lash Boost.

In the suit filed before the US District Court in Oakland, California, Rodan + Fields is accused of failing to disclose the side effects of its key ingredient isopropyl cloprostenate, a type of prostaglandin analogue used to treat conditions such as glaucoma.

“Consumers of Lash Boost ... have experienced serious side effects, including change(s) in iris color, eyelid drooping, itchy eyes, eye/lid discoloration, thinning and loss of eyelashes/loss of eyelash hair, eye sensitivity, eye infections, and vision impairment,” CBS News reported the lawsuit claimed.

Aside from violating state consumer protection laws, the company has also been accused of engaging in fraudulent and unfair marketing of the eyelash booster, which is branded and sold as a cosmetic product.

Some Lash Boost consumers have experienced side effects
Some Lash Boost consumers have experienced side effects

In doing so, the company is able to avoid stringent regulatory review from the FDA before it goes to the market – unlike a similar product from Allergan, Latisse, which also contains a prostaglandin analogue, but has its potential side effects fully disclosed on the packaging.

According to fashion website Racked, Allergan successfully sued a number of competitors in 2012 whose over-the-counter cosmetic products contained prostaglandin analogues on the basis that they were unfair competitors. However, there are numerous examples of similar products, including some that contain isopropyl cloprostenate, still available in popular cosmetic stores.

While the lawsuit does not suggest the product be subject to FDA regulations, it is seeking compensation for consumers who purchased the product, according to the law firm representing the plaintiffs, Keller Rohrback LLP.

A statement released by Rodan + Fields denied any wrongdoing and argued Lash Boost was being compared to “unrelated products, including prescription products that have different ingredients and formulations. We are going to let the specifics of our legal defense play out in court.”

The company added it had consistently marketed Lash Boost as a cosmetic that could cause irritation for some users.

Lash Boost is only available in the US, however according to Choice there is at least one eyelash serum available over-the-counter in Australia that contains a synthetic postraglandin.

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