Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

DES Lawsuit Against Eli Lilly is Resolved with Settlement

Just two days into trial, a drug injury settlement has been reached in the DES lawsuit filed by four sisters against Eli Lilly & Co. This could pave the way for more settlements filed by scores of other women.

In Massaachusetts alone, 51 women have filed Boston DES injury cases against over a dozen companies that marketed or made diethylstilbestrol, a synthetic estrogen also called DES that was given to pregnant women for years. The Melnick sisters’ dangerous drug lawsuit was the first one to go to trial.

Over the years, thousands of DES lawsuits have been filed claiming the drug is the reason why women, who were the babies inside the pregnant mothers who were taking the hormones, would later go on to develop cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, and fertility issues. Many of these cases have been settled.

The four Melnick sisters, Donna, Andrea, Michele, and Francine, have each suffered from miscarriages, fertility issues, and reproductive tract problems-all conditions that have been linked to exposure to DES while in the mother’s womb. Although DES was supposed to help pregnancy by preventing miscarriage and premature birth-it was developed during the 1930s-even after information surfaced indicating that the drug didn’t really prevent either, it wasn’t until 1971 that the FDA put out an advisory telling doctors to stop prescribing this drug.

In 2008, one of the Melnick sisters learned about a study that found that DES daughters appeared to be more prone to developing breast cancer than other women. It is important also to note that there are five Melnick sisters. The only one who hasn’t had health problems linked to DES is the one that wasn’t exposed to the drug because their mom didn’t take it when pregnant with her.

Eli Lilly tried to argue that there are no existing medical records to verify the sisters’ claim that sisters’ mom even took the drug. The pharmaceutical company also pointed out that there is no evidence that the medication in fact does cause breast cancer in DES daughters. Yet if this is the case, why have so many women who were exposed to the drug while in the pregnant moms’ bellies suffering such serious and similar health issues?

For example, there is the pending DES case of Airline MacCormack, 50. She was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago. She says that the type of cancer she developed is more typical of women over age 60 than someone in her forties. There is also the findings from a National Cancer Institute study , which is that DES daughters over age forty are nearly doubly at risk of getting breast cancer than other women. DES daughters’ breast cancer risk is 1 in 25 chances, while other women’s chances is 1 in 50.

Many plaintiffs believe the different DES manufacturers withheld key information about the drug’s associated health risks for years.

Boston lawsuit claims DES-breast cancer link, USA Today, January 10, 2012

Eli Lilly Settles Mass. Pregnancy Drug-Cancer Case, ABC News/AP, January 9, 2013

More Blog Posts:
Another Boston Injury Lawsuit Blames DES Drug for Causing Newton Woman’s Breast Cancer, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, January 30, 2012

Melnick Sisters’ Boston DES Lawsuit Against Eli Lilly Goes to Trial, Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, January 4, 2013

Boston Dangerous Drug Lawsuits: YAZ, Ocella, and Yasmin Birth Control Pills Linked to Deep Vein Thrombosis, Pulmonary Embolism, Stroke, Heart Attack, and Myocardial Infarction Side Effects, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, June 19, 2012

Contact Information