Lawyer to hunt for 'DES daughters' in UK

Lawyer to hunt for 'DES daughters' in UK

According to a recent Independent on Sunday report, a hunt for the so-called ‘DES daughters’ who have not been compensated by British courts will be organized by Washington-based lawyer Aaron Levine in two weeks’ time.

The term ‘DES daughters’ refers to those women who have a potential risk of vaginal, breast and cervical cancer because their mothers had, decades back, been prescribed the common pregnancy drug called diethylstilboestrol (DES), for reducing their risk of miscarriage.

Even though the DES was widely prescribed to pregnant women during the 1938-1971 period, it is believed that the drug carries a lifelong risk of cancer for the daughters – and probably even the granddaughters – of women who were prescribed the drug during their pregnancy.

When researchers identified an association between DES and vaginal cancer in 1971, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned its use in the country, though the drug still continued to be sold in the UK till much later.

However, with the Department of Health having suggested that the compensation for the ‘DES daughters’ was chiefly a matter for the drug companies rather than the Government, Levine – who has represented ‘DES daughters’ in the US - is soon traveling to the UK to hunt for as well as represent ‘DES daughters’ who have not been able to get compensation in the UK courts.

Terming the DES as "quackery," Levine told the Independent on Sunday that the drug “never worked. It didn't do anything positive for anyone and didn't help anyone's pregnancy.”