Sisters' cancer-drug link trial begins

Jan. 4, 2013 at 4:09 PM

BOSTON, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Jury selection began Friday in Boston in a civil suit filed by four sisters who claim a drug given to their mother caused them to contract breast cancer.

The women are suing Eli Lilly, who made the drug diethylstilbestrol, commonly known as DES, WBZ-TV, Boston, reported.

The drug, intended to prevent miscarriage, was given to pregnant women beginning in the 1930s until it was pulled in 1971 after it was linked to a rare form of vaginal cancer.

Four of five of the sisters, whose mother was given DES during her pregnancies, have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The fifth sister does not have breast cancer but their mother did not take the drug during that pregnancy.

The sisters have fought Eli Lilly for five years. In court documents, the drugmaker claims the women have "no competent evidence" their illnesses are related to DES usage by their mother.

This is the first of more than 50 cases claiming a cancer link to DES filed in federal court in Boston.

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