June 09th 2011 marks a turning point in France for DES victims with a court verdict in favor of a DES Grandson who was born prematurely. This great news has been welcomed by the DES community and Action Groups from all corners of the globe. Fran Howell, DES Action USA Director, commented: “Louis’ win is a huge victory and around the world people are celebrating with him and his family“. We are all so happy for Louis and his mother Hélène.
Below is a translation of a Réseau D.E.S. France press communication – June, 10th 2011
After a first judgement against UCB Pharma, the Appeal Court of Justice confirmed the first verdict on June 09th 2011 : 1,7 million euros damages are to be paid to Louis’ family.
Hélène was born in 1958. Her mother was prescribed Distilbène® during her pregnancy, making her one of the 80,000 French “DES daughters“. In 1990, during the 6th month of her pregnancy, Hélène gave birth to Louis, severely premature and suffering from important sequels : his handicap is assessed as 80% ; he can neither read nor write, moves in a wheel-chair and needs constant help. He is yet another victim of the drug Distilbène®… taken by his grandmother in the 50’s !
We share Hélène’s satisfaction and relief that the prejudice has at last been recognized by the Appeal Court to enable her family to live onwards. She can now sleep at night knowing that her son’s future is assured.
This decision is all the more important that it is the first time the the Appeal Court has judged a DES Distilbène® case concerning the 3rd generation.
This victory is consecutive to a well-prepared medical file which proves :
- a prescription of Distilbène® to Hélène’s mother
- that Hélène’s pregnancy was closely controlled because of her in utero DES exposure
- Louis’ medical follow-up was in conformity to the 1990 protocols
- that Louis’ condition has no other cause than his premature birth.
Finally, we are satisfied that the Versailles Court of Appeal confirmed the responsibility of UCB Pharma for their lack of diligence in commercializing Distilbène® on the market.
We again hope that this decision will bring a term to the difficult struggle for justice, started by Hélène in 2002.
In France, Distilbène® and Stilboestrol® (the commercial names for the diethylstilboestrol synthetic hormone – DES in abbreviation) was prescribed to 200 000 pregnant women to avoid miscarriages. 160 000 children were born from these pregnancies. For the “DES daughters”, the side effects are : sterility, miscarriages, premature births, cancers…
Sources: Article courtesy of Réseau D.E.S. France