Last Updated Apr 29, 2010 1:29 PM EDT
Regardless of its merits, the case is a reminder to healthcare managers that their customers' health waxes and wanes for a full generation after the sale of the product has been recorded. If the case proceeds, it will also be an interesting test of companies' record-keeping policies. Many companies warehouse old documents for several years before allowing them to be destroyed. But should drug companies be required to keep paperwork for 60 years or more, just in case someone sues?
Companies that, over the decades were acquired or merged with Eli Lilly (LLY), Merck (MRK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Pfizer (PFE) are named as defendants. One of the defendants is "E.R. Squibb & Sons," the 1895 company founded by Edward Robinson Squibb (pictured, top and right, in his lab in 1858) that later became Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY).
The women, who were all born between 1957 and 1971, claim that their mother's ingestion of DES exposed them to the chemical in utero, and has put them at "extremely high risk for experiencing certain cancers, infertility, ectopic pregnancies as well as other serious injuries."
Images: From Bristol-Myers Squibb.