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Testimony Set to Begin in Pregnancy DES Case

Filed January 8th, 2013 admin

Testimony is slated to begin in a federal lawsuit presented by four sisters who claim their breast cancer was caused by the synthetic estrogen known as DES (diethylstilbestrol) their mother took during pregnancy in the 1950s. The lawsuit was brought against Lilly and Co., and seeks unspecified damages.

DES was prescribed to millions of pregnant women between the late 1930s and early 1970s to prevent miscarriages, premature births and other problems, Yahoo News said. However, studies later found the drug did not prevent miscarriages.

The lawsuit is being brought by the Melnick sisters, who grew up in Tresckow, Pennsylvania. They claim they all developed breast cancer in their 40s because of their mother’s use of DES when she was pregnant. According to the lawsuit, their mother did not take DES while pregnant with a fifth sister, and that sister has not developed breast cancer, Yahoo News said.

Opening statements and testimony were expected Tuesday in U.S. District Court. The sisters’ case is believed to be the first to go to trial out of hosts of similar claims filed throughout the country,” Yahoo News said. Boston has seen a hotbed of lawsuits, where a total of 51 women have lawsuits pending against more than one dozen drug companies that made or marketed DES, Yahoo News said. DES was eventually pulled from the market after it was connected to a rare vaginal cancer in women whose mothers used DES.

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