The judge in the DES lawsuit, US Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler, ordered 14 pharmaceutical companies involved in the lawsuit to enter into negotiations to settle the lawsuit. The lawsuit was brought by 53 women, who alleged they developed breast cancer because of their mothers' use of DES (also known as diethylstilbestrol, or Stilboestrol).
The judge made her decision after expert testimony supported claims that the plaintiffs' exposure to DES prior to birth increased the risk of breast cancer. Women who were exposed to DES prior to birth are often referred to collectively as "DES Daughters." They reportedly face an increased risk of breast cancer, reproductive problems and other serious health problems, even though they did not voluntarily take the medication.
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As many as 10 million women may have been exposed to DES, as mothers who took the drug to prevent miscarriage, as daughters of DES users, or even as granddaughters of the women who initially took the medication. The results of settlement discussions have not been announced and are possibly ongoing.
Some women may have suffered DES side effects without realizing they had been exposed to the medication. Others may not have realized the exposure to DES was linked to such serious side effects. Even though DES has not been used to prevent miscarriage in decades, some lawsuits are ongoing.