Howard Ulfelder; Gynecologist Who Warned of DES
Howard Ulfelder, 78, who first identified the link between use of the drug DES by pregnant women and vaginal cancer in their daughters. An internationally known gynecologist and cancer specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Ulfelder in 1971 directed a panel that published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine outlining a link between vaginal cancer in young women and the use of diethyl-stilbestrol (DES) by their mothers during pregnancy. The drug was administered to an estimated 6 million pregnant women between 1940 and 1971 in an attempt to reduce the risk of miscarriage. In 1978, the U.S. surgeon general declared the drug harmful and recommended to the Food and Drug Administration that it be banned. In Boston on Sunday of cancer.