SINCE THE 1970s, this pharmaceutical manufacturer has been hit with hundreds of lawsuits arguing that the company failed to disclose risks associated with four substances: diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen widely used to prevent miscarriages; Oraflex, an anti-inflammatory; Prozac, the popular antidepressant; and thimerosal, a preservative used in vaccines. Of the drugs that Lilly may have marketed without proper research or disclosure, DES has caused the most pervasive and best documented harms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 5 to 10 million people are at risk from side effects from DES, many of them children or grandchildren of women who were prescribed the drug.

First synthesized in 1938 by Edward Charles Dodds, DES was embraced by researchers as a less expensive, more ...

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