Malpractice News

January 14, 2012

14 Drug Makers Facing Lawsuits over DES Breat Cancer Links

14 drug companies who made and promoted DES, or diethylstilbestrol, a synthetic estrogen used to prevent miscarriages from the late 1930s to the early 1970s, are facing lawsuits filed by 53 women across the country. One lawsuit, filed by Arline MacCormack, is one of the first that ties DES to an increased risk of breast cancer.

In 1971, the FDA stopped physicians from prescribing the drug after a study found that females born to mothers who used the drug to prevent miscarriage or premature birth while pregnant, had an increased risk of developing a rare vaginal cancer while in their teens and 20s.

Since then, thousands of lawsuits have been filed alleging the drug caused daughters to suffer infertility problems and cervical cancer.

A study by Dr. Robert Hoover, a National Cancer Institute researcher, has suggested that the risk of developing breast cancer in daughters over the age of 40 whose mothers used DES is nearly double the risk to the general population.

The lawsuit names 14 drug companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and Eli Lilly and Co., and claims the drug makers kept information from the FDA that DES did not prevent miscarriages, and also raised safety questions about the drug.

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