Frances Kelsey, well known for his efforts to keep thalidomide off the markets of the United States passed away at the age of 101. Dr. Kelsey died on Friday morning, less than 24 hours after she received the ‘Order of Canada’.
Dr. Kelsey was a part of the United States Food and Drug administration during the early part of the 1960’s. The man is given the credit of single handed ensuring that the drug thalidomide is taken off all the markets of the United States, which later turned out to be a great effort to save mankind.
Kelsey received the ‘Order of Canada’ on Thursday in a private ceremony at his daughter’s home in the city of London, Ontario.
Thalidomide was a sedative prescribed to individuals during the early 1950’s to treat Insomnia in pregnant women and morning sickness. It was Dr. Kelsey, who initially went through the struggle to remove the drug. The drug had intense side effects as most of the new born babies during that period of time had some or the other abnormalities.
In some cases, the children had deformed legs, hands and in some case, babies were born without body organs as well. The abnormalities were reported in various parts of Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia.
The act by Dr. Kelsey was opposed by the makers of the drug to a great extent, but the man stood by his words and abolished the drug. It was later in the 2010; the British Government officially apologized to the affected people and announced a compensation of 20 million Euros (approximately $31 million) to the victims. Thalidomide has been used as a potential cure of cancer since then.
Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey celebrated her 101th birthday on July 24th 2015.