DES and the identification problem

DES plaintiffs face many problems, both legal and practical

Proposals to “further strengthen product liability laws as a substitute for direct government intervention“‘ were studied in this 1983 study.

AKRON LAW REVIEW, Vol. 16:3, by BARRY S. ROBERTS and CHARLES F. RoYSTER. full PDF Winter, 1983.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen, was developed in 19371 and was widely prescribed in the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s for pregnant women to prevent miscarriages.

The drug has caused a number of maladies to daughters who were exposed in utero to the drug, the most serious of which is clear cell adenocarcinoma, a rare form of vaginal cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withdrew its approval of DES as a miscarriage preventative in 1971, and since then the focus has shifted to products liability actions filed against the drug manufacturers. The plaintiffs have been largely unsuccessful in these actions, although some innovative judicial theories have recently been advanced in allowing recovery.

This article will examine the history of this drug, how it was used and regulated as well as the subsequent legal turmoil and the proffered resolutions to the quandary. The impact of these theories and of proposals to “further strengthen product liability laws as a substitute for direct government intervention“‘ will also be studied.

More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Have your say! Share your views