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Medical News and Perspectives |

Frances Kelsey Honored for FDA Legacy

Bridget M. Kuehn
JAMA. 2010;304(19):2109-2112. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1652.
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When Frances Oldham Kelsey, MD, PhD, began her job as a medical reviewer in a dreary prefabricated building at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1960, her first assignment was to review an “easy” application for the US marketing of a drug that was already widely used in Europe and thought to be safe. Neither she nor her supervisors could have predicted that her work on the application would spark changes in drug regulation worldwide and lead to the development of modern standards for clinical research.

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Francis Oldham Kelsey, 96, was honored by the US Food and Drug Administration in September for her contributions to public health during her 45-year career at the agency.

(Photo credit: Catherine Brown/HHS)
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President Kennedy honors Francis Oldham Kelsey in 1962 with an award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service for preventing thalidomide from being marketed in the United States.

(Photo credit: National Library of Medicine)

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