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Jan 02, 2014 06:53 AM EST

Pharmacist Sues UI Pharmaceuticals for Eye Injuries on Drug Exposure


Cynthia Wong, a clinical pharmacist at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, has filed a personal injury lawsuit against a University of Iowa pharmaceutical lab.

In the lawsuit, Wong claims that she sustained serious injuries while unpacking a box of trial drugs in March 2011. The box of drugs, containing vials of sodium chlorite, allegedly emitted a vapor that damaged her eyes and face.

The lawsuit, filed in February in San Francisco County Superior Court, states that lack of safety measures during the substance's design, manufacturing, packaging and shipment process caused the painful eye injuries including corneal abrasions.

It further claims that the box should have mentioned necessary instructions and warnings about the possible injuries so she could have made 'an intelligent decision regarding whether to unpack' the box.

Alan Zacharin, Wong's attorney, said that his client still suffers from serious eye problems nearly three years later.

"She suffered a real injury from a real physical substance that came out of that box," Zacharin said, Press-Citizen reports.

Through the lawsuit, Wong is seeking unspecified damages as the injuries have cost her heavy medical expenses. It has forced her to miss work and take home lower wages.

Besides UI Pharmaceuticals, Sharp Corp., which processed the box, and Neuraltus have also been named as defendants in the lawsuit.

According to the Iowa Attorney General's Office, UI Pharmaceuticals, based at the school's college of pharmacy, produced the drugs for Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals Inc., which has been trying to develop a treatment for Lou Gehrig's disease.

The lawsuit has cost UI pharmaceuticals $27,000 in legal fees. The amount is expected to increase because a California judge rejected their request to dismiss the claim, last week.

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