The Big Payout: A $615 Million Liability Fund

A $615 Million Liability Fund

It was a nickel-size birth control device that sold for $3 and was supposed to be easy and effective to use. But the Dalkon Shield proved a health menace to some users, and it has been a continuing financial nightmare for A.H. Robins, which stopped manufacturing the intrauterine contraceptive more than a decade ago. Robins, whose products include Robitussin cough syrup, Chap Stick lip balm and Sergeant's flea and tick collars, last week reported a 1984 loss of $462 million, giving the company a net worth of minus $128 million. Reason: the lingering and costly legal side effects of the Dalkon...

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