Beating Cancer One Lap at a Time

DES Daughter Susan Helmrich is one of the best swimmers in the world in her age group

Susan Helmrich is one of the best swimmers in the world in her age group. She’s also a three-time cancer survivor and a victim of one of the greatest drug tragedies in history. With luck, determination, great medical care, the support of family and friends and the benefits of the sport of swimming, Susan has fought to escape the deadly legacy of a supposed wonder drug turned nightmare.

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SlideShow DES Adverts

Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, doctors were the target for most drug advertising campaigns including DES

DES Adverts Information

desPLEX

 

Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, doctors were the target for most drug advertising campaigns including DES as shows this Flickr album.

Drug companies supplied hundreds of doctors with samples to give to their female patients, thus creating a market for the drug (in the case of diethylstilbestrol even before it was approved by the FDA).

Somehow DES set the template of “How To” market a dangerous drug to women. In 1948, diethylstilbestrol was advertised as the “Wonder Drug” recommended for all pregnancies. The face of a cherubic infant grinned up from the pages of medical journals next to the caption: “Really? Yes, desPLEX to prevent abortion, miscarriage and premature labor…bigger and stronger babies“.

As early as 1953, research revealed that DES did not work – that DES actually brought about higher rates of premature birth and infant mortality – yet DES continued to be prescribed to pregnant women for decades mainly because pharmaceutical companies continued to heavily promote DES use to doctors and most doctors relied on the drug companies and their sales representatives for information.

More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources