Robins Runs for Shelter

The drugmaker files for bankruptcy to cope with the Dalkon Shield disaster

On the surface, A.H. Robins of Richmond would seem to be a thriving company. Its popular products, including Robitussin cough syrup, Chap Stick lip balm and Sergeant's flea and tick collars, last year generated record sales of $632 million. But the 119-year-old pharmaceutical firm is now facing financial ruin because of a $3 item it has not sold in a decade: the Dalkon Shield intrauterine birth control device. Deluged by more than 12,000 lawsuits charging that the Dalkon Shield was responsible for countless serious illnesses and at least 20 deaths among the women who used it, Robins last week filed for...

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