Preconception Tort Liability - The Duty to Third Generations: Enright v. Eli Lilly (and) Co.
Hershiser, Margaret M.
INTRODUCTION|Diethylstilbestrol ("DES") is a synthetic estrogen hormone invented by British researchers in 1937. DES was used to treat a variety of health conditions, and beginning in 1947, was prescribed for the purpose of preventing miscarriages. Because DES was never patented, the approval of the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") was the only requirement needed by pharmaceutical drug manufacturers to produce the drug. By 1952, the FDA had declared DES to be "generally recognized ... as safe." However, in 1971, DES was discovered to be the specific cause of vaginal cancer in female offspring of women who had ingested DES ("DES daughters") and was banned by the FDA. By this time, DES had been taken by several million pregnant women. Consequently, four to six million mothers and their offspring were exposed to the drug. While a number of DES daughters have contracted vaginal and cervical cancer, the vast majority of injuries to DES daughters are pre-cancerous vaginal abnormalities. In most DES litigation, plaintiffs have encountered a number of legal problems such as the running of the statute of limitations, the absence of a cause of action for prenatal or preconception injury, and the inability to identify the manufacturer...
24 Creighton L. Rev. 1479 (1990-1991)
Creighton University School of Law