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Founder of Natural Eye Health Company Dies

He passed away on Dec. 2 following a brief illness.

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Brian Banks, founder and president of Natural Ophthalmics, a maker of natural eye health treatments, has died.

Banks passed away on Dec. 2 following a brief illness, the company said in a statement.

The company explained:

Brian started his career in industrial lighting sales which brought him into contact with many businesses. One of those businesses was the US sales office of a major Swiss homeopathic producer.

During that time, he was also a volunteer firefighter. After a house-fire training session in which his eyes became red and inflamed, he reached out to the homeopathic company to see if he could try their eye drops. Not only did the eye drops help his situation, but because of his enthusiasm, the company offered him a job as US sales representative. 

Brian worked at that company until 2000 at which time he felt there was a need for a wider range of natural eye care products. He started Natural Ophthalmics shortly thereafter with the mission of providing a high quality line of eye drops and eye-health supplements to eye care professionals which could be sold in-office directly to patients. He put together a team of respected optometrists, ophthalmologists and homeopathic physicians to develop the products. His customers include Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, Homeopathic Physicians, Naturopathic Physicians, Chiropractors, Oriental Medicine Practitioners and Veterinarians. The products address a range of symptoms including tear stimulation and allergy desensitization to name a few.

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Despite his passing, Natural Ophthalmics continues to thrive and will continue to grow under the dedicated and solid management team created by Brian over the years.

Banks is survived by two children.

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Pharma Company with Eyecare Focus Names CEO

He previously served as interim chief.

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EMERYVILLE, CA — NovaBay Pharmaceuticals Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focusing on commercializing Avenova for the domestic eye care market, announces the appointments of Justin Hall as president and CEO and Jason Raleigh as chief financial officer.

Hall has served as interim president and CEO, and Raleigh as interim CFO, since March 2019.

“Justin and Jason have proven their leadership abilities by successfully implementing the shift in our U.S. commercial strategy we announced in March and executing the recent launch of our U.S. direct-to-consumer sales of Avenova on Amazon.com,” said Paul E. Freiman, chairman of NovaBay.

“This is a very exciting time at NovaBay as we launch Avenova Direct, making our leading lid and lash spray directly accessible to consumers without a prescription and at affordable pricing,” Hall said. “My close working relationships with our Board, principal investors, and sales force are key to quickly adjusting our strategy to rapidly address opportunities in the marketplace. We are on the move and we have momentum.”

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Raleigh said: “I’m honored to be selected as CFO and appreciate the Board’s trust in my abilities. I look forward to continuing to work with Justin and the NovaBay team toward the continued successful commercialization of Avenova.”

Hall has served with NovaBay for six years in a variety of roles, including as corporate counsel, and has been actively involved in a number of operating functions, including the sales organization and manufacturing. Raleigh has been with NovaBay for more than three years and has nearly 20 years of financial experience.

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AOA: Amazon Has Dropped Noncompliant Contact Lens Sellers

AOA plans to ‘continue to monitor the site and report retailers.’

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The American Optometric Association reports that Amazon’s marketplace no longer displays noncompliant, decorative contact lens vendors following complaints from the AOA.

The AOA explains that it had alerted the e-commerce retailer to potential violations of federal law and its own medical device policy.

In a Feb. 27 letter to Amazon, the AOA emphasized that contact lenses — whether corrective or plano — are U.S. Food and Drug Administration-regulated medical devices that not only require a prescription from a licensed practitioner for purchase, but also fall under Amazon’s own policy for “Medical Devices and Accessories.” That policy mandates how sellers must abide by all federal, state and local laws, which in this case, the AOA noted, includes patient protection provisions of the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumer Act (FCLCA).

Per federal law, vendors “may sell contact lenses only in accordance with a contact lens prescription for the patient that is (1) presented to the seller by the patient or prescriber directly or by facsimile; or (2) verified by direct communication.”

AOA’s letter noted: “The contact lenses available for sale on Amazon are sold entirely without a prescription, which we believe is an FCLCA violation.” Furthermore, “in addition to sales via (Amazon’s) platform raising legal questions related to the FCLCA, the guidance provided by sellers regarding these FDA-regulated medical devices is very concerning.”

The AOA’s letter document instructions from vendors such as “… gently press the contact lens opposite clockwise or counterclockwise turn 30 times [sic], and put in a box for a new care solution … if you do not use for a long time, please put in the box, soak with care solution [sic], replace the care solution every three days.”

Such guidance is “wholly inappropriate and dangerous,” the AOA states in a post on its website. It notes that proper physician oversight is necessary for medical devices that require a physician’s prescription.

According to AOA:

In response, Amazon thanked AOA for its diligence and reiterated its own medical devices policy while stating the company will take appropriate action when products are reported for legal non-compliance. As of June 4, those violating posts that AOA first identified and reported have been removed. The AOA will continue to monitor the site and report retailers.

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Ophthalmologists Hope to Undo State Law That Allows ODs to Perform Eye Surgery

They’re attempting a ballot referendum.

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A movement is afoot in Arkansas to undo recently passed state legislation that allows optometrists to perform certain surgeries.

It’s being led by Safe Surgery Arkansas, a group of medical doctors, Talk Business & Politics reports. They hope to use a ballot referendum to accomplish their goal.

R. Scott Lowery, president of the Arkansas Ophthalmological Society, was quoted saying: “Every day the people of Arkansas rely on medical doctors who have the experience and training to perform medical procedures to ensure that they are getting world class healthcare in Arkansas. We are confident that when the people are heard on this issue, they will not allow individuals without medical degrees and without surgical residencies to jeopardize the precious eyesight of Arkansans.”

The legislation was signed into law in March. The procedures that it allows optometrists to perform include selective laser trabeculoplasty and Nd:YAG laser procedures, along with injections (excluding intravenous and intraocular), removal of lid lesions and chalazion incision and curettage.

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The bill called on the Arkansas Board of Optometry to establish credentialing requirements for optometrists to perform these laser procedures, as well as require those doctors to report the outcomes of their procedures to the board.

Vicki Farmer, executive director of the Arkansas Optometry Association, was quoted noting that Arkansas legislators “overwhelmingly approved this measure during the recent session, after listening to hours of testimony and debate, and learning optometrists in other states, like Oklahoma, have been safely performing these procedures for more than 20 years.”

Read more at Talk Business & Politics

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