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Frances Oldham Kelsey, Doctor Who Kept Thalidomide From US Market, Dies At 101

Frances Oldham Kelsey, a doctor whose work at the FDA in the 1960s kept the morning sickness drug thalidomide from mass release on the U.S. market, has died at 101, her daughter said. Thalidomide was found to cause serious birth defects, but lax drug approval regulations at the time meant thousands of babies were born suffering from its effects worldwide. Dr. Kelsey, believing the untested drug could be harmful, "fastidiously blocked its approval while drug company officials maligned her as a bureaucratic nitpicker" for a critical 19-month-period, the Washington Post reports.


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