A recent obituary in the New York Times spoke of someone who as famous in the 60’s, and probably many of you will remember her: Frances Kelsey.
She was the scientist at the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) who prevented Thalidomide, and then commonly-used medication in Germany for nausea during pregnancy, from coming to the U.S.
With dogged persistence, she fought the drug manufacturer and political pressure to use the early powers of the FDA to prevent this medication from making it to market in the U.S. In so doing she prevented tens of thousands of cases of phocomelia (seal arms) in the U.S., and simultaneously solidified the reputation of the FDA and a government agency that was above reproach and politics.
Had Frances Kelsey not ‘stood her ground’ Thalidomide would have been available right at the time I was born, 1962, and I would potentially have been exposed to this danger. I personally am grateful to this amazing scientist who was a true heroine.
Read more of her life in the NY TIMES OBITUARY>>>>>HERE<<<<<
Read more about the FDA and how it developed a word-class reputation >>>>HERE<<<<