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Case: A.H. Robbins

III.) Analyze and Evaluate Alternatives (Chris)
A. What area do problems exist?
1.) What caused them?/ Executives falsifying records
2.) Why?/To prevent harm to stakeholders
B. Strengths and weaknesses of the processes
1.) Effectiveness of managerial competencies
2.) Are the objectives and strategies compatible with skills and resources?
C. Evaluation of A.H. Robins case
1.) Various alternatives
2.) Pros and cons of each alternative
3.) Are the alternatives feasible?
4.) Which alternative is most valuable?

The A. H. Robbins Company, manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, acquired rights in June 1970 to a new contraceptive for women. The Dalkon Shield, an intrauterine device, was marketed as a safer method of contraception than the birth control pill, and stated it could be used by the vast majority of women, according to its designers. At that time the Dalkon Shield was not subject to rigorous clinical testing because it was not classified as a drug under the terms of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

A flaw in the Dalkon Shield, coupled with Robbins's disregard of cautionary medical advice, resulted in a long list of serious injuries to hundreds of thousands of its users. Twenty American women died from septic abortions caused by using the Dalkon Shield. Hundreds of women became sterile, and many required hysterectomies. In addition, countless miscarriages, infections, and reproductive disorders resulted from its use.

In June 1974, Robbins suspended domestic sale of the Dalkon Shield (foreign distribution continued for another ten months) but stopped short of recalling it, defending its safety and effectiveness "when properly used." Eleven years later, the company declared bankruptcy in the face of claims filed against it as a result of the defective IUD.

Congress responded to the Dalkon Shield fiasco by enacting the Medical Device Amendments of 1976, which authorized the FDA to review the safety and effectiveness of medical devices like the Dalkon Shield. The tobacco and pharmaceutical industries funded critics and think tanks to publicly criticize the FDA and portray it as a bureaucratic "job killer." They accused the agency of killing thousands of Americans by delaying access to innovative drugs and medical devices. They ran ghastly scare ads featuring coffins and tombstones of the agency's alleged victims.

The case also raised issues pertinent to the tobacco industry, about how much information regarding a product a corporation should be allowed to keep secret, how much harm a product must do before recall, etc.

A.H. Robbins was a member of the Coalition for a Uniform Product Liability Law circa 1988, which lobbied for legislation capping punitive damages and pain and suffering compensation from people hurt by products.

Solution Preview

The response address the queries posted in 1230 words with references.

//Before writing about the analysis of the case study, we will discuss about the Company overview of A.H. Robbins under the heading of introduction. Then, we will write about the major problems areas for the Company and the difficulties faced by the firm in accordance with the case analysis.//


The case explains about the problems faced by A.H. Robbins- a pharmaceutical manufacturer in relation to its product Dalkon Shield. It also describes the manner in which the company responded towards these problems. At the same time, it raises certain important issues associated with the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries. Similarly, the issues related with the designing of innovative products and their access to the common people is also discussed in the case.

A. Problem Areas for the company:

The product (Dalkon Shield), launched by A.H. Robbins, was an intrauterine device (IUD) and was promoted as a better alternative than routine birth control medicines for the women. However, this contraceptive did not live up to the user's expectations, owing to its dangerous effects on certain women.

1.) Causes for the problem:

A major reason for the problems associated with Dalkon Shield was the company's failure in subjecting the drug to proper procedures of clinical testing prior to making it available for use. It was important for the company to follow these procedures as Dalkon Shield was not recognized as a drug according to the norms and regulations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

2.) A.H. Robbins faced these difficulties mainly due to the presence of a fault in Dalkon Shield. In addition, the company did not pay any concern to suggestions regarding the following of medical precautions. As a result, the drug caused a large number of serious problems to its various users.

In addition, the company ...

Solution Summary

The response address the queries posted in 1230 words with references.