A.H. Robins Co. began a campaign alerting women to remove the Dalkon Shield about the time it learned at least two deaths could be linked to the contraceptive, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported yesterday.
In a $4 million national advertising campaign begun last fall, the company offered to pay medical costs for removing the controversial intrauterine birth-control device from women still wearing them. More than 3,000 women responded to the Robins offer.
The Times-Dispatch, in a copyrighted story, quoted a Robins official as saying he could not comment on whether information about the deaths and damaging studies propelled the firm to begin the advertisements.
The newspaper reported that an obstetrician at the University of Southern California Medical Center told the company in May that a woman who wore the shield for eight years died of complications from a pelvic abscess.
Surviving relatives of a New Orleans woman also have filed suit claiming that she died in April 1983 of illnesses related to the Dalkon Shield, the newspaper reported. The woman had worn the shield since 1973.
The Dalkon Shield was taken off the market in 1974 at the request of the Food and Drug Administration.
The company faces more than 3,500 suits filed by women claiming they suffered serious injuries from using the intrauterine device. Robins has spent nearly $260 million to settle 7,700 claims.