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DES Breast Cancer Lawsuit Hits Boston Federal Court

A lawsuit involving a pregnancy drug allegedly linked to breast cancer has made its way to a Boston courthouse, reports The Associated Press.

The lawsuit was brought against Eli Lilly & Co. for their drug DES, or diethylstilbestrol. Four sisters allege that they were all diagnosed with breast cancer as the result of their mother taking DES while she was pregnant.

The Melnick sisters claim that the drug is to blame. They are bringing their lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, in a federal court in Boston.

The drug is a synthetic estrogen that was given to women from the 1930s to the 1970s. The purpose of the drug was to prevent miscarriage, premature delivery and various other complications.

But these claims were never adequately proven, studies show. In fact, back in 1971, the Food and Drug Administration asked doctors to stop prescribing the drug, according to the AP.

Eli Lilly is fighting the claims, saying that there is no evidence that the women's mother took the drug. The drug company claims that there are no medical records, and the mother is no longer alive. Nor is her doctor, for that matter.

But the women aren't backing down. They also cite fertility issues, which they claim are linked to the drug. Another sister avoided their fate and did not suffer from breast cancer, they say. Their mother didn't take DES when she was pregnant with that sister, the other Melnick sisters claim.

The Melnick sisters also point to an alleged failure to adequately warn. While the drugmaker warned that DES may be carcinogenic for the mother, it failed to mention the possible effects for unborn children.

Without adequate proof of fault, namely the fact that their mother even took the drug, they might have an uphill battle in court. On the other hand, their case hasn't been thrown out yet.

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