Sunday 22 January 2012


The UK newspaper The Independent (front page) today has raised awareness of the DES exposure problem for the benefit of UK's population. See:

This comprehensive article will no doubt encourage many DES-affected in UK, who have so far been unaware of the harm of DES, to seek information in helping prevent unfavourable health outcomes due to DES.

This article also highlights the latest US Court victory for DES daughters diagnosed with breast cancer and the possible legal opportunities for compensation by UK women so affected. Pleasingly, the article states that US DES lawyer, Aaron Levine, will travel to the UK in two weeks time to coordinate a hunt for the "DES daughters" in UK who have been unable to get compensation in British courts. There has been UK media follow-up on this:

This interest by UK media has been sparked by the great work of Domino and supportive partner (Diethylstilbestrol, Journal of a DES Daughter). A ripple effect to reach and activate Australian media is needed...followed by the Australian "hunt for DES daughters".

NOTE: DES Action Australia-NSW appeals to all DES affected Australians to contact Australian media, newspapers, radio etc right now to tell them about the attention in US and UK, and the US court victory for DES daughters diagnosed with breast cancer.

Friday 20 January 2012


Fourteen drug companies in the US have been ordered to begin mediation immediately to compensate 53 women who claim their breast cancers were caused by the anti-miscarriage drug diethylstilboestrol (DES). There are an estimated 740,000 Australian mothers, daughters and sons affected by the drug, which has been found to double a DES daughter's chance of developing breast cancer.

DES was manufactured and sold primarily from 1940 to 1971. It has been linked to rare reproductive cancers, infertility and breast cancer in the daughters born to women who were prescribed it. It was made by numerous pharmaceutical firms, including Eli Lilly and Company, which was the largest producer, and E.R. Squibb and Sons, the predecessor to Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Carol Devine, coordinator of DES Action group, says this case sets a precedent for people affected by DES in the US and around the world. "We are often asked about legal compensation on DES matters, so this is heartening news for Australian DES daughters who have had breast cancer diagnosis,"she says.

"There has already been successful litigation in 2008 by an Australian DES daughter in US court against DES drug companies for her diagnosed clear cell adenocarcinoma which left her infertile after a radical hysterectomy."

In agreement with DES Action USA and the College Statement by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Carol Devine urges DES daughters to be aware of their increased breast cancer risk once they hit forty and to have annual breast screening.

"This ruling against the drug companies is a wake-up call for the government to promote DES information directly to Australians in public health programs, especially since the majority of DES-affected are still unaware of DES and the associated health care they need."

Jackie White, of Centerburg, OH, is one of the plaintiffs in the case. She, like the other so-called DES daughters, was exposed to DES before birth. "I am just over the moon at this decision," she says. "It is time for the drug companies who harmed us to be held accountable for this bad drug."

Washington DC Attorney Aaron Levine called upon a team of expert witnesses including the Chair of Harvard's Department of Epidemiology, and other scientists from academic institutions such as Georgetown University and the University of Paris to support the reliability of their experts and their opinions that prenatal DES exposure substantially increases the risk of breast cancer in DES daughters over the age of forty.

For more information about DES contact DES Action Australia-NSW by phoning 02 98754820 or visiting

For more information contact:
Carol Devine, DES Action Australia-NSW
P: (02) 98754820

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Our DES Awareness Week - a response

The Daily Telegraph published a controversial article about Events Calendars by Melissa Matheson last week, "What say we call it a day" (31/12/11) with the subtitled comment - "The calendar is now jam-packed with worthy and not so worthy causes - and there's a ribbon for every one."

It was a shame that our DES Awareness Week June 1-7 did not even rate a mention, as this would have fulfilled our whole aim - to raise awareness of DES. Had it been mentioned, it would have certainly been categorised as a worthy cause. However, the fact it did not rate a mention may well demonstrate the stiff competition DES Action Australia-NSW as a marginalised unfunded group is up against with other campaigners, armed to the teeth with expensive PR company back-up.

The article had a sweeping statement that campaigners want your attention and, naturally, money. Our campaign has never asked people for money, but instead directly offers Australians information to help prevent cancer fatalities and reproductive health complications - vital health information as a result of a drug disaster that the government currently refuses to provide Australians in public health programs. With the sheer number of calendar campaigns all clamouring for attention, Matheson raises the issue of public exhaustion trying to keep up and the risk that public empathy may turn to apathy. It is hoped this never happens. The response to DES Awareness campaigns over the last seven years has shown the Australian public to be extremely appreciative of the information offered - information they would not have otherwise found.

Events Calendars open a window of excellent opportunity for marginalised organisations with worthy causes. In fair play, media should be focusing equally on those campaigners doing it tough with worthwhile causes. Indeed, a follow-up article about the experience of campaigners, like DES Action Australia-NSW, doing the hard grind without any ribbon and stifled by the PR power of larger campaigners, would be a positive move for public good. Focusing on the worthy campaigns at the fringe would bring something new to many people and simultaneously do justice to the underlying principles of Events Calendars.