The Dalkon Shield-Ignoring User Safety
About the author: Sharlotte Scott is a master in Literature at Maryland University. She is currently working as one of the best writers at https://writer-elite.com/conce....pt-map-writing-servi She also studies male psychology.
The Dalkon Shield case study outlines the problems and consequences that A.H. Robins Company faced due to its tendency to ignore product safety. Robins manufactured an intrauterine device known as Dalkon Shield for family planning purposes. The profitability potential of the device and the possibility that the competitors could enter the market with an alternative product have influenced Robins decision to avoid safety tests. The consequences of failing to conduct product safety test for Dalkon Shield included pelvic infections of the clients, sterility, deaths, and miscarriages. Robins could have prevented these problems by accepting the possibility of safety problems, addressing them, and taking actions to reduce the harm Dalkon Shield has brought to the customers.
Robins unethical practices first became apparent in 1972, after selling Dalkon Shield for one year. Physicians who had difficulty inserting Dalkon Shield raised questions about its safety and effectiveness. Robins Company lost an essential opportunity after the physicians complaints because it ignored them and continued selling their product.
Robins should have addressed the concerns raised by physicians and women who used Dalkon Shield by initiating an analysis and evaluation of the product safety. Furthermore, the company should have informed the public about the concerns raised and the steps it had taken to investigate the problem. Openly addressing the problem would have helped the company gain respect and enhance its positive reputation. However, the company ignored the safety questions raised. Consequently, more deaths, suffering, and eventual bankruptcy followed.
A firm cannot guarantee complete product safety because some unforeseen factors in the market may nullify the initial product safety analysis and prevent it from identifying safety concerns. For instance, some women could have an allergic reaction after using Dalkon Shield. Robins could have missed such potential safety concern because it would have been impossible to test the product and determine its compatibility with all conditions prior to market entry. However, a corporation should not use this excuse to avoid responsibility, especially after identifying such safety problems after the products have reached market. Therefore, Robins should have taken steps to resolve the safety problem that it had not identified initially.
One of the alternative solutions available to Robins at the time was to inform the public about the safety concerns. According to Trevino and Nelson (201, transparency with stakeholders is essential in times of crisis because it can shield an organization from the possible fallout. This option would have shown the public that Robins was an ethical organization that cared about the welfare of its clients. It was feasible to inform the public because it was not costly however, the option was limited because it did not solve the safety issues raised. As such, the company needed to consider other alternatives as well.
The second alternative available to Robins was to conduct product safety analysis and determine whether the safety and efficiency issues raised were valid. The company should have involved an independent organization to evaluate the safety of Dalkon Shield to ensure objectivity in the testing process. The tests would have proved that the product was dangerous. As such, the next step for the company would have been recalling all Dalkon Shields in use and terminating its manufacturing and marketing until the safety problem was rectified. Such an approach was feasible for the company because it would have stopped the deaths, infections, and miscarriages that followed the companys inaction. This option would have a limitation because several women would have already suffered by the time the testing was complete.