Official Press Release for Historic DES Breast Cancer Trial

3 Jan

Please share this press release online and with every media contact in your area!


DES Daughters Seek to Hold Eli Lilly Accountable for Breast Cancer in Historical Trial


            On Monday, January 7, 2013, at 9:00 a.m., the attorneys of Aaron Levine & Associates will advocate on behalf of DES daughters in the first historical diethylstilbestrol (DES) breast cancer trial in Boston federal court.  The case, Fecho v. Eli Lilly, seeks to hold pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Company responsible for negligently marketing DES, a mega-dose synthetic estrogen, as safe for use in pregnant women.  Eli Lilly ignored studies published as early as the 1930s that reported the carcinogenic and teratogenic risks of DES, and rushed to market the drug as a miscarriage preventative without controlled testing.  Because of their prenatal exposure to the drug, DES daughters are at a 105% increased risk of developing breast cancer beginning at age 40.  By age 50, the risk of DES breast cancer increases to 285%.

The Fecho sisters, a family of four DES daughters from Pennsylvania, will be the first DES breast cancer case to be tried in court.  The four Fecho sisters were all exposed to DES in utero and all suffered infertility as well as a host of signature DES reproductive tract abnormalities.  All four sisters contracted breast cancer on or before the age of 50.  The eldest, fifth Fecho sister, who is not a party to the lawsuit, was not exposed to DES.  She was able to have a child and remains cancer-free.  Michele Fecho, one of the Fecho sisters, stated, “I think it was important to make others aware of the effects of DES and let women know if they were a DES daughter that they have an increased risk of getting breast cancer. The medical profession also has to know so they can monitor more closely.  DES had a profound effect on my life, and it really upsets me to know this was probably all preventable had health care providers, mothers, and daughters had known more about DES.”

Defendant Eli Lilly manufactured DES between the late 1940s to early 1970s.  DES was prescribed to 3 million pregnant women.  Not only was DES a carcinogen and teratogen, but it also had no effect in preventing miscarriages.  DES manufacturers like Eli Lilly never conducted controlled testing or warned of the dangers of the drug and its known carcinogenic effects.  The FDA banned the use of DES in pregnancy in 1971.

DES daughter Jackie White, of Centerburg, Ohio, was diagnosed in 2010 with stage 3 breast cancer, with 20 tumors in one breast and two pre-cancerous lumps in the other.  The cancer had also spread to her lymph nodes, all at the age 47.  Ms. White is one of over 100 DES daughter clients of Aaron Levine & Associates looking to hold multiple pharmaceuticals liable for their breast cancer injuries caused by prenatal DES exposure.  When asked why she is involved in this litigation, Ms. White stated she “joined the lawsuit because drug companies need to be held accountable for the harm they caused.  Research shows—and I firmly believe—the DES prescribed to my mother caused my breast cancer.”  Ms. White is currently in remission, following double breast mastectomies, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments.  She is encouraging all DES daughters to not only become aware of the link between prenatal DES exposure and breast cancer, but to also diligently maintain breast cancer screenings. 

DES daughters, such as the Fecho sisters and Ms. White, are at an elevated risk for clear-cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina and cervix, infertility, subfertility, and breast cancer.  DES daughters should be vigilant about breast cancer screening and check with their doctors regarding the avoidance of female hormone therapies to reduce cancer risk.

The Fecho v. Eli Lilly trial is open to the public.  All interested parties and media are welcomed to attend the trial at the John Joseph Moakley United States District Courthouse in Boston, Courtroom 8 on the third floor on Monday, January 7, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.  For more information, please visit


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