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Project of the Day: A Story of Medical Miracle in Feature ‘WONDER DRUG’

Project of the Day: A Story of Medical Miracle in Feature 'WONDER DRUG'

Here’s your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you’ll have the chance to vote for your favorite.

In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments.


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WONDER DRUG is inspired by the true story of DES (diethylstilbestrol), one of the biggest medical disasters in history.

Elevator Pitch

WONDER DRUG is like THE HOURS, with three intersecting storyline across several decades. It’s inspired by the true story of DES, which was seen as a medical miracle 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. DES continues to make headlines around the world, thanks to its chemical cousin BPA and the upcoming huge DES breast cancer trial in Boston this January.

Production Team:

Creative Producer/Star: Alysia Reiner (Screen Actors Guild Award–Outstanding Performance for an Ensemble Cast–playing Christine, Jack’s fiancée and then bride, in the Oscar-winning film “Sideways”).

Director: Joan Stein Schimke (Nominated for an Academy Award® for her short film “One Day Crossing”).  

Screenwriter: Caitlin McCarthy (WONDER DRUG was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation script at the Hamptons Screenwriters Lab and chosen for a live staged reading starring Steve Guttenberg and Alysia Reiner at the 15th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival).

About This Production:

Because the mistakes we do not acknowledge we are doomed to repeat. The script highlights historical issues of control of medicine by pharmaceutical corporations and their government collaborators. And pre-feminism stature of women in society is used as a potent metaphor for the courage needed to live one’s truth and speak up in the face of institutional resistance, abuse, or neglect.

Current Status:

WONDER DRUG is in development and can be made in Boston or NYC (posing as Boston) for under $2M, according to our line producer.

For more information and to support this project: (there is no crowdfunding link)

Film Website

Be sure to check out our curated Kickstarter page for more information on films we think you should support.

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This Article is related to: Filmmaker Toolkit and tagged


Paula Henry

A resounding YES! People need to know about the devastating results of this drug against humanity!

Anise Smith

Yes this story NEEDS to be heard!


Yes!! People need to know about DES. It's as tragic as thalidomide and the story needs to be told. We know Eli Lilly would like to keep a lid on it, the jerks. Let's expose them.


There are many millions of DES descendants–so many of whom suffer cancer, infertility, autoimmune and other conditions as a consequence of the mayhem of the fake hormone's permanent reprogramming of gene expression–who have no idea about their highly toxic and teratogenic ancestral exposure. They are unwitting, innocent victims of the biggest scandal in history. This film must be made. The tragic history of widespread use of prenatal fake hormones must be common knowledge. Yes, yes, yes!

Kath Mazzella OAM

I would love to hear more about this part of womens history


Please vote NOW for WONDER DRUG to be IndieWire's "Project of the Week" by visiting this link:

Voting ends on Monday August 6, at 11AM Eastern — but don't delay and VOTE TODAY!

This vote is separate from any comments you may have previously left on WONDER DRUG's "Project of the Day" page.

Thank you — and spread the word about voting for WONDER DRUG, which ends on Monday, August 6, at 11AM Eastern.

judith barrow

Wonder Drug is a film I'd like to see. The writer has a powerful story to tell – performed/acted well will get this story the attention it deserves


Yes, this film is the light that needs to shine on a subject that changed lives. Its time to show the world that Wonder Drug is a film with a very important message.

Carol Devine

This film should also be shown outside USA in all DES affected countries. Many countries, including Australia, have thousands of DES affected people oblivious to the harm caused by DES, and who are suffering without knowing why and what health measures they need to take. This film is a MUST!

Patti Negri

YES, this is a film I would like to see get made. This is a film that NEEDS to be made! I vote a great big YES!


People also need to hear the story of how one Mom in Boston recognized the link to DES in her daughters cancer "could this have been caused by the RX I was given while pregnant" and was able to get her doctors to listen to her and stop this dangerous drug from being prescribed..


Definitely Yes…this movie must be made

Elke Kiehn

I am a DES mum – not that I knew that back in 1965 when I was given this drug while on holiday in the USA. The heartache it has caused and is still causing for my children is indescribable. My eldest daughter is suffering the most and we could never find out why until a few years ago . Her life has been thrown into chaos and turned upside down but at least we are grateful that we finally can put a name to this disastrous drug and what it did. My other 2 children have issues too but both have children – so we worry greatly about the effects on them. As a mother I feel so much guilt for having trusted the doctors who might not have known better – so this story needs to be told and soon so people wake up. There must be many out there not being aware how they could be affected. This is the biggest scandal after thalidomide and needs to be brought out into the open. PLEASE do this film and do it soon!

Aaron Levine

Caitlin McCarthy is a true visionary. As an advocate for DES daughters for the last 30 years, I can say without reservation that the tragic lessons of DES cannot be forgotten. Women's healthcare has always been marginalized by the profit-driven drug industry. This film will take the real life struggles of millions of DES daughters and transform their suffering into an unforgettable lesson for future generations.


YES!! and YES!! This film needs to be seen. People have a right to know about dangerous drugs and their effect on generations of people who took them believing what the drug companies told them; that the drugs werre safe. DES is the silent thalidomide and just as much of a tragedy.

Julie Oliver-Zhang

This is likely going to be one of the most influential films this decade on the ethics of Big Pharma. I cannot wait to see it!

Rachel's Friends Breast Cancer Coalition

Yes — this is essential public health information. When will the film be available?

Victoria Palmer

Absolutely YES! Can't wait to see this!

Tom Abbott

A definite YES…..Can't wait to see it.


Yes!!!!!! Make this movie, can't wait to go see it!!!!!!

Harry Jellinck

The development and the consequences of the action of DES thought to be a "Wonder Drug"is a modern "Greek Tragedy"which should be made into a movie as a cautionary tale!
Harry Jellinck -Ph.D. student in Professor Sir Charles Dodds Laboratory back in the 1950s!

DES Daughter

YES, YES, YES, I can't wait to see this movie …. It is very important to bring the story of the DES tragedy out in the open. This film must be made. The DES story must be told to a wide audience. I fully support the making of Wonder Drug.


yes, go go go, make it :D

Cindy K.

I would be very interested in this movie. DES is a historically significant event in medicine and it affects all of our lives whether we were personally harmed by DES or not.

Kellie H

Today's greedy climate is the perfect backdrop to tell this story of conscious and humanity disregarded for profit. I can't wait to see it!

Jennifer Morrison

100% YES!!!!!!!!

Jill McMahan

Wonder Drug is definitely a movie I would like to see. DES was taken by two of my closest friend's mothers. Very sad results.

Thank you.

John Mailer

Yes I would like to see this movie get made.

Ted Hope

I have been eagerly waiting to see this movie ever since I went to a great public script reading of it.

Betty Copeland

Yes I would love to see this movie. It is a sad fact that profits can and have dictated decisions that adversely affect human life. It happened with DES and continues to happen today. It is time to bring this information out in the open. Kudos to everyone involved in the fight to get this film made.

Nicki and Si

Caitlin your work deserves to be seen on the big screen from us all at Masive Films !

Cynthia Delmar

I'm not a DES victim but would absolutely see this movie. We need to make sure that as we develop new medicines we are keenly aware of potential problems, and one of the best ways to do that is by learning from past mistakes. Mistakes that have caused millions of people such needless suffering.


YES. Not just yes, but hell yes!


Can't wait to see it.

Angela Crosato

Yes! This is a movie that WILL be made and I look forward to seeing it up on the big screen!

Jose A Rivera

YES, Definitely a Movie I will Love to see!

Mike C.





Yes! I have been waiting for this movie.


Yes Yes.

Andrea Gardner

I've been waiting a couple of years for this, and decades to get DES recognized as the health tragedy it was and STILL is. Let's get this film made!

Tatiana Hamawi, M.D.

Yes! I've been waiting for this. It's a story that must be told.

Cathy Harris

I am a first generation DES baby. Born in 1956, found out in 1971 from the Life magazine article, at age 56 I still have gynocologists and medical doctors who have NEVER HEARD of DES. With close monitoring, I have gone dsyplagic with pre-cancerous cervix cells three times, all caught in time for cold surgery, all before age 23. I, then right on time with the Noller Report, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 45. In keeping with the current studies, I have gone on to be diagnosed with other multiple autoimmune diseases, conditions, syndromes. I purposefully did not have children because I knew my DNA had been changed, and these changes would be passed on to my offspring. My mother died of pancreatic cancer, which I believe was caused by her taking this drug. Why the coverup? Why don't doctors know about DES? Why doesn't America know about this horror story of millions of offspring that are unaware of their exposure? This movie HAS to be produced, promoted, and seen by every teen and adult in America. Thank you.


Yes, I would like to see this movie! I am a DES daughter, one of millions world-wide. I would love to see our story told, and this movie would be a great way to ensure that is done!!


This was the greatest medical catastrophe in history. Bravo to the team–people need to learn the hidden history of synthetic steroid hormone drugs and their dire multigenerational consequences. I cannot begin to list the horrors I suffer every day due to those "miracle" drugs.


I would absolutely like to see this movie made. My 2 sisters and I are DES daughters, all of which have various reproductive and female issues due to our exposure to DES. We all hope that our exposure does not have any ill effects on our children as 3rd generation offspring. The DES story HAS to be told so that nothing like this ever happens again!!

lori sears

yes, need to see this movie, i'm a DES baby, had cancer, a hysterectomy, and other organs removed, hope it won't hurt my Daughter or Grandchildren

Kathy Shawver Maffei

I'm a DES daughter and yes, I will see the movie. Something like this should never happen again.


Yes- this is an important movie that I have been waiting to see!


Yes, please!


Women need to know about DES and the cancer it causes, the mal-formed reproductive organs, the transmital through three generations, and more! This filmm needs to be made! Women won't hear the truth about DES from their doctors who are on big pharma's payroll.

Jeanette Dunigan

YES I want to see this film and have been waiting for a long time…please!


I've been hearing awards this screenplay has been winning for years. I would love to see it on the big screen.


I would absolutely see this movie!


I'm desperate to see this movie!

Nic Baisley



I would definitely see this film. Sounds like an intelligent and timely story.

I also like that this film has a female producer, female director, and female screenwriter. Women are underrepresented behind the scenes in Hollywood. A change needs to be made, and films like this need to be supported.

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