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Frances Oldham Kelsey

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Frances Oldham Kelsey
Born(1914-07-24)July 24, 1914
DiedAugust 7, 2015(2015-08-07) (aged 101)
Occupation(s)Physician, FDA employee
Known forpreventing thalidomide from coming to market in the United States
SpouseFremont Ellis Kelsey

Frances Kathleen Oldham Kelsey PhD MD (July 24, 1914 – August 7, 2015) was an Canadian-American pharmacologist. She was a reviewer for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She refused to authorize thalidomide for market because she had concerns about the drug's safety.[1]

Her concerns proved to be justified when it was proven that thalidomide caused serious birth defects. As a result of her blocking American approval of thalidomide, Kelsey was awarded the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President John F. Kennedy,[2] Kelsey retired from the FDA in 2005, at age 90, after 45 years of service.[3]

Kelsey died at her daughter's home in London, Ontario at the age of 101.[4]


[change | change source]
  1. --- (1986). "Frances Kelsey". Canada Heirloom Series. Heirloom Publishing Inc. Retrieved August 15, 2009. {{cite web}}: |last= has numeric name (help)
  2. Kennedy, John F. (1962). "Remarks upon presenting the President's Awards for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service". Retrieved May 1, 2006.
  3. Rouhi, Maureen (June 20, 2005). "Top Pharmaceuticals: Thalidomide". Chemical & Engineering News. 83 (25). American Chemical Society. doi:10.1021/cen-v083n025.p122. Retrieved April 30, 2006.
  4. Canadian doctor who kept thalidomide out of U.S. dies

Other websites

[change | change source]
  • Harris, Steven B. 1992. The Right Lesson to Learn from Thalidomide Archived April 20, 2001, at the Wayback Machine.
  • Mintz, Morton (1965) The therapeutic nightmare; a report on the roles of the United States Food and Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and others in connection with the irrational and massive use of prescription drugs that may be worthless, injurious, or even lethal. Boston, Houghton Mifflin. LOC HD9666.6 .M55, Dewey 338.4761519.Library of Congress catalog entry
  • McFadyen, R.E. (1976). Thalidomide in America: A Brush With Tragedy. Clio Medica, 11, (2), 79–93.