A pregnancy drug that was popularly prescribed during 1938 and 1971 has been found to increase the risk of certain cancers among the children and grandchildren of the women who had taken the drug.
Known as diethylstilboestrol, or DES, the drug was falsely believed to reduce the risk of miscarriage among pregnant women. However the drug was banned by the FDA after it was found to increase the risk of a certain type of vaginal cancer among the children of women who had taken the drug.
More than $1.5 billion in compensation has already been paid out to affected families but a group of 80 British women are launching a lawsuit against 14 companies that manufactured the drug from the early 1940s to 1970s.
The Department of Health in Britain said that they understood the concerns of the affected women but was quick to say that compensation was a matter between the companies and the affected women. "The department recognises the concerns of people who believe they have been adversely affected by diethylstilboestrol and has every sympathy with them. With regard to compensation for people who believe they have been adversely affected by this drug, this is a matter for the manufacturer(s) and/or the UK licensees of the drug", a department spokesperson said.