Boston Judge Orders 14 Drug Cos. to Settle Breast Cancer Case

January 21, 2012

A federal judge in Boston has ordered 14 drug companies to negotiate settlements for 53 women who claim their breast cancer was caused by an anti-miscarriage drug their mothers took decades ago.

Lawyers for the women said U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler read her ruling in court on Thursday, Jan. 19. It came after closing arguments on motions by the drug companies to exclude testimony from experts for the women who believe there is a link between DES, or diethylstilbestrol, and breast cancer in daughters over 40.

Attorneys Aaron Levine and Julie Oliver-Zhang said Bowler rejected those motions and ordered the drug companies to enter mediation.

The women are suing drug companies who made and promoted DES, a synthetic estrogen, from about 1938 to the early 1970s. Drug company representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

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