A recent DES breast cancer lawsuit reached settlement in Boston, brought on by four sisters alleging that their breast cancer was caused by a drug their mother took during pregnancy. The plaintiffs filed claims against Eli Lilly and Co., manufacturer of the medication DES (diethylstilbestrol).

The sisters are among the 51 women who have filed DES side effects lawsuits against over a dozen companies that manufactured and marketed the drug.

DES is a synthetic estrogen prescribed over three decades to millions of pregnant women to prevent miscarriages, premature births and other problems. In the early 1970s, it was removed from the market after evidence of DES side effects, including a risk of vaginal cancer in daughters of women who took DES while pregnant. Later studies showed that DES did not prevent miscarriages. In fact, Eli Lilly may have failed to test for DES pregnancy side effects for fetuses before it promoted the drug.

DES Daughters Filing Lawsuits After Suffering Side Effects

The mother of the four sister plaintiffs took DES in the 1950s. All four siblings developed DES breast cancer in their 40s. The women also suffered from miscarriages, fertility and other reproductive tract problems that were suspected to be caused by exposure to DES during their mother’s pregnancy. The plaintiffs underwent treatment for breast cancer, including lump-removal surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and a full mastectomy.

Though the financial terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, lawyers anticipate that this settlement might suggest that there will be more to follow. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed over DES side effects, including links between DES and vaginal cancer, cervical cancer and other fertility problems, many of which were settled.

Another woman who developed breast cancer after prenatal DES exposure, called the settlement a “huge victory” for DES daughters. “The bottom line is that this company put out a drug without testing, without knowing the consequences of this drug,” she said.

The DES lawyers at Bernstein Liebhard LLP are currently investigating cases on behalf of DES daughters who developed breast cancer after prenatal exposure to the drug. If you were born between 1938 and 1971 in the U.S., you may be a DES daughter and at increased risk for serious side effects. To learn more, speak to a lawyer today by calling 1-877-779-1414.

Published January 10, 2013 by