The Heroine of the FDA

Posted on Categories Discover Magazine

One woman was all that stood between thalidomide and America.

The president was beaming. The woman beside him — a brunette wearing proper gloves and hat — also smiled, shyly. She was tall, her dark hair lightly streaked with gray. This was the hero who saved the United States from the tragedy of thalidomide, a drug often prescribed to pregnant women that could result in serious birth defects such as short, flipper-like arms and legs. The year was 1962, and in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, Frances Oldham Kelsey had just received th…

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