T The Dalkon Shield claimants' committee, wary of a surprise bid for A.H. Robins Co., hopes the bid won't become another "gambit for the benefit of insiders and speculators who now own most of the stock" in the Richmond pharmaceutical firm, a lawyer for the committee said Saturday.

Sanofi, France's leading drug manufacturer, proposed orally late Thursday to fund a $2.475 billion trust for victims of the flawed intrauterine contraceptive device in exchange for a 60 percent interest in Robins. No details have been disclosed.

U.S. District Judge Robert Merhige Jr. had announced on Dec. 11 that $2.475 billion -- paid over a "reasonable" time that has yet to be specified -- would constitute "full" payment to shield victims and would enable Robins toemerge from Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Attorney Murray Drabkin, in the committee's first reaction to the Sanofi bid, said: "The principle of this reorganization has to be prompt, full and fair payment to the Dalkon Shield victims. If the Sanofi proposal materially contributes to that result, it would be welcomed. If it does not, it is D.O.A. {dead on arrival}.

"Based on Robin's past performance, I would approach the Sanofi offer with considerable caution and perhaps even skepticism ... We hope that the Sanofi proposal is not going to become another such gambit for the benefit of insiders and speculators, who between them now own most of the stock."

Drabkin added that if the company is again up for sale, "the sale has to be opened to all potential buyers, not just those favored by the Robins family in furtherance of its own interests."

The Robins family owns about 40 percent of the common shares of the firm, and two Wall Street investment ventures control the largest portions of the nonfamily-owned stock.

The Sanofi offer came after Robins and Rorer Group Inc. had signed an agreement for Robins to be acquired by the Fort Washington, Pa., pharmaceutical firm. Robins' reorganization plan, pending in U.S. District Court in Richmond, incorporates a proposal for a trust for shield victims that would cap Rorer's liability at $1.75 billion -- $725 million less than the amount Merhige recently set as "full" compensation to the shield victims.

Merhige directed Robins to revise its reorganization plan to include the $2.475 billion and to file the revision by next Monday. Robins and Rorer both say they are continuing discussions. It isn't known whether Robins may seek to delay the filing deadline.

In Paris, Sanofi President Rene Sautier told the Associated Press that his bid was "quite different" than Rorer's because his company isn't seeking full control of Robins.

Sautier declined to specify the sum Sanofi is prepared to invest in Robins, while saying that the French company has $236 million available on short notice for investment opportunities.Sanofi is 60 percent owned by a giant French oil conglomerate, Societe Nationale Elf and Aquitaine, which employs more than 15,000 people and produces human and veterinary drugs, cosmetics, perfumes and additives for the cheese and dairy industries.