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The Dalkon Shield was an intrauterine birth control device (IUD) manufactured and sold from January 1971 to October 1974 by the A. H. Robins Company, maker of Robitussin cough syrup and Chapstick lip balm. Sales were suspended at the request of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of a high number of reported incidents of inflammatory pelvic infections and spontaneous septic abortions as well as four deaths. Also, many children were born with defects linked to the device. In 1985, after 9,500 cases had been litigated or settled, the company filed for bankruptcy and set up a $2.3 billion fixed-asset trust fund to deal with the thousands of pending cases.

The Shield was invented by Dr. Hugh Davis and Irwin Lerner in 1968. After promoting ...

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