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Posts Tagged ‘DES’

Caitlin McCarthy received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Emerson College.  An award-winning screenwriter at international film festivals and labs, Caitlin has two feature films in development: WONDER DRUG with producer/star Alysia Reiner and Oscar-nominated director Joan Stein Schimke; and RESISTANCE with director Si Wall. In addition to screenwriting, Caitlin teaches English at an inner-city public high school. 

Dear Friends,

As a DES Daughter, I’m appalled that on Friday the FDA refused the call to ban BPA from food packaging. BPA is the “chemical cousin” of DES – and we all know about the generational devastation of DES exposure. (For decades, DES or diethylstilbestrol was seen as a medical miracle to help women with pregnancy issues and one of the first cash cows for pharmaceutical companies – but was in fact a toxic, carcinogenic drug and one of the biggest medical disasters in history, affecting millions of people worldwide.)

As you know, US Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and US Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) jointly sent a letter to the FDA about a DES apology in 2010.  In 2011, the Senators finally received a 3-page response from the FDA. The FDA’s letter did not contain an official apology from the federal government for the DES drug disaster. However, it acknowledged the devastating health consequences of DES, explained FDA initiatives to prevent future drug disasters, and talked about DES as a “tragedy.”

In light of the Senators’ championing of DES victims, please ask them to speak out against the FDA’s refusal to ban BPA from food packaging.

The Senators can be contacted in two ways:

** Fill out email forms for Senator Kerry and Senator Brown. You don’t have to live in Massachusetts to write to them. Also, it doesn’t matter what political party you belong to – the  Senators are friendly with each other and willing to work together on issues: http://kerry.senate.gov/contact/ and http://scottbrown.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme. (more…)

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CELEBRITIES IN DISGRACE blog congratulates Caitlin McCarthy! Caitlin’s DES pieces here, uncovering a true ‘disgrace,’ have drawn national attention.  And we thank DES Info for this post:

New post from DES Info

DES Daughter Nominated for 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal!

by DES Info

DES Daughter and WONDER DRUG Screenwriter Caitlin McCarthy

WONDER DRUGscreenwriter Caitlin McCarthy has been nominated for the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal. Because of Caitlin’s efforts and work with the offices of Senators Kerry and Brown, the FDA finally acknowledged DES as a “tragedy” in 2011 after 40 years. Caitlin also champions DES awareness through her screenwriting, blogging, activism, public speaking, and government/media relations.

The Presidential Citizens Medal is the second highest civilian award in the United States, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The winners will be announced before the end of 2011 — but as they say, it’s an honor to be nominated.

If people would like to express their support of Caitlin McCarthy’s nomination for a 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal for her work on the DES issue, please Tweet the White House (@whitehouse) and/or send a message via this webform to the White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

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Diana Bianchini founded Di Moda Public Relations in 2002. Di Moda is renowned for spearheading innovative, sustainable, community oriented campaigns that leave an indelible global impact. In addition to Di Moda representing Project Angel Food for the past five years, Diana also serves on the Advisory Board for The Good News Foundation, has been an event chair twice for the Los Angeles chapter of the March of Dimes and gives of her time to many other national and local charities. Diana was born in Marin, California and raised in the Bay Area. She currently makes Los Angeles her home.

BOSTON: MAKING DES CANCER HISTORY, ONCE AGAIN  by Diana Bianchini

Earlier this year, I blogged on The Huffington Post about DES (diethylstilbestrol), the toxic, carcinogenic synthetic estrogen that was prescribed to millions of pregnant women for decades: from 1938 until 1971 in the United States, and until the mid-1980s in parts of Latin America, Europe, Australia, and the Third World .

The DES cancer link was first established in Boston 40 years ago at Massachusetts General Hospital .

Once again, Boston is at the epicenter of DES history. This week, the first part of the historic DES breast cancer cases will be wrapping up in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Boston. The result of this trial will determine if the first ever series of DES breast cancer lawsuits in the US can survive Daubert scrutiny on causality and be allowed to go forward.

Aaron M. Levine and Julie Oliver-Zhang from Aaron M. Levine & Associates are representing the 53 DES Daughters involved in these breast cancer cases . It’s just two lawyers for the plaintiffs and about 20 lawyers representing the drug companies in the court room. According to some attendees, the drug company lawyers are sporting uniform black suits a la Agent Smith in “The Matrix”.

The outcome of these joint DES breast cancer cases will not only affect American DES Daughters, but DES victims around the world who are waging their own legal battles because of the devastating effects of DES exposure. The currently proven effects of DES exposure include a rare vaginal cancer in DES Daughters; greater risk for breast cancer in DES Mothers; possible risk for testicular cancer in DES Sons; abnormal reproductive organs; infertility; high-risk pregnancies; and an increased risk for breast cancer in DES Daughters after age 40. There are a number of other suspected effects, including auto-immune disorders, but many of these effects are still awaiting further research.

Dr. Hans-Olov Adami, former Chair of the Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and a world-renowned physician and epidemiologist, testified during the trial that women exposed in utero to diethylstilbestrol (DES) are at substantially increased risk for breast cancer. Dr. Adami cited to Dr. Julie Palmer’s 2006 NCI study, “Prenatal Diethylstilbestrol Exposure and the Risk of Breast Cancer,” which showed a 2.05 – 3.85 relative risk for DES daughters over the age of 40. Dr. Adami “found it overwhelmingly likely based on this methodology that DES causes breast cancer, [and] increases substantially the risk of breast cancer in women starting about the age of 40.”

In confirming the Palmer study in court as a valid and important reopening of the never-ending DES tragedy, Dr. Adami stated: “so the bottom line of this is it provides strong evidence that DES exposure increases the risk, and that the risk increase starts sometime around age 40 and then grows as women get older.”

Dr. Adami stressed that there are two practical implications in the Palmer study: “one is that it reinforces the importance of women who have been exposed to participate in mammography screening programs in order to allow early detection of breast cancer if they develop it; and secondly, because women who have been on hormone replacement therapies are already at an increased risk, the indications should be very restrictive to add another major risk factor if they have also been exposed to DES in the uterus.”

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently declared “DES Awareness Week” this July commemorating the experience of DES Daughters and warning of breast cancer risks.

On February 22, 2011, US Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and US Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) received a 3-page response from the FDA , per their joint letter about a DES apology. The FDA’s letter did not contain an official apology from the federal government for the DES drug disaster. However, it acknowledged the devastating health consequences of DES, explained FDA initiatives to prevent future drug disasters, and talked about DES as a “tragedy” .

The trial in Boston will continue until Friday, September 23, as the 53 DES Daughters involved put on further biology, toxicology, oncology, and obstetrics and gynecology experts to support Dr. Adami’s opinion of this substantial DES breast cancer risk in the daughters. The trial is open to the public.

(author photo courtesy of author)

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UPDATE: New coverage on the FDA letter in the Boston Globe
FDA LETTER IS NATIONAL NEWS (& IT ALL STARTED HERE…)
Our blog is proud that Caitlin McCarthy’s series of impassioned guest posts on the DES drug scandal has resulted in an important news-making letter of acknowledgement from the FDA about the DES tragedy.
The offices of Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Scott Brown have put out a joint national press release on the FDA letter, which was prompted in part by Caitlin’s posts on this blog and her request that readers contact Senators Brown and Kerry.

One of Caitlin’s DES posts for our blog was linked by the Huffington Post‘s own Diana Bianchini, who wrote about Caitlin and the DES apology effort, reaching a worldwide readership.  This week’s letter from the FDA breaks new ground and will have political and legal ramifications that are likely to help DES victims around the world.

Our thanks to all the readers who contacted the senators and to Caitlin for showing that one voice can make a difference.
(photo of the senators: Yahoo.com)

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Breaking: Our Celebrities In Disgrace Preview has been selected to be shown at Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival 2011; watch for more info. on our Celebs film as an official selection in the Hollywood FirstGlance Film competition in March…

An award-winning screenwriter at international film festivals and labs, Caitlin McCarthy has two feature films in development: “Wonder Drug” with director Tom Gilroy (“Spring Forward”); and “Resistance” with director Si Wall (“The Dinner Party,” premiering November 2010). She also has a TV series treatment, “Free Skate,” which is currently being considered by top production companies.

DES UPDATE from Caitlin McCarthy (Note: this Post follows up on Caitlin’s previous DES posts, including her post that was linked by the Huffington Post; congrat.s to Caitlin for drawing national attention to this cause).

On February 22, 2011, US Senator John Kerry and US Senator Brown received a 3-page response from the FDA on the DES apology. Click here to view the letter: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=290073&id=233795428655

As you will see, the letter does not contain an official apology from the federal government for the DES tragedy. However, it acknowledges the devastating health consequences of the drug, explains FDA initiatives to prevent future drug disasters, and talks about DES as a “tragedy.”

They close the letter by writing, “We hope that our new tools for identifying, monitoring and mitigating drug risks will prevent other tragedies like those brought out by the widespread use of DES. We are committed to providing the public with timely and accurate drug safety information and we recognize the critical responsibility that the FDA has to protect the safety of the public’s health.”

Many thanks to everyone in the offices of Senator Kerry and Senator Brown, who spent many months working together to make this acknowledgement happen.

Also, many thanks to everyone on this site page who contacted the senators about the DES apology. I appreciate it! — Caitlin

(photos: Boston.com, thewashingtonnote.com)

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THANKS Diana Bianchini for her powerful piece in the HUFFINGTON POST inspired by- and linking- Caitlin’s Post.  Welcome first-time readers.  Please visit our film website… Thanks also to John Payne, lead singer of ASIA Featuring John Payne, who says that the fight for the DES apology has his “full support.” And THANKS to supporters in AUSTRALIA plus producer TED HOPE for his help on Twitter

An award-winning screenwriter at international film festivals and labs, Caitlin McCarthy has two feature films in development: “Wonder Drug” with director Tom Gilroy (“Spring Forward”); and “Resistance” with director Si Wall (“The Dinner Party,” premiering November 2010). She also has a TV series treatment, “Free Skate,” which is currently being considered by top production companies.

SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD…By Caitlin McCarthy

Caitlin & Sen. Brown

Politics and apologies. They’ve been on my mind this week, what with Tuesday’s primaries and Elizabeth Searle’s recent blog post “I TAKE THAT BACK”: Public Apology Twists, Two-Steps, Tweets & Tunes by Pastor Jones, Kanye West & more.

We live in a country where kids are taught to apologize if they hurt someone. But how often do adults apologize for this – let alone countries?

I am a big believer in the power of an apology. As such, I have been working jointly with the offices of Senator John Kerry and Senator Scott Brown to secure a long-overdue apology from the US Government for the DES (diethylstilbestrol) tragedy.

DES (diethylstilbestrol) is a toxic and carcinogenic synthetic estrogen that was prescribed to millions of pregnant women for decades: from 1938 until 1971 (and in a small number of cases for several years thereafter) in the United States; and until the mid-1980s in parts of Latin America, Europe, Australia, and the Third World.

DES is the world’s first drug disaster, often referred to as the “hidden Thalidomide.” The currently proven effects of exposure include a rare vaginal cancer in DES Daughters; greater risk for breast cancer in DES Mothers; possible risk for testicular cancer in DES Sons; abnormal reproductive organs; infertility; high-risk pregnancies; and an increased risk for breast cancer in DES Daughters after age 40. There are a number of other suspected effects, including auto-immune disorders, but many of these effects are still awaiting further research. (more…)

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