Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shout Out to Dr Frances Oldham Kelsey - Iconic Image for the FDA

Dr Frances Oldham Kelsey was ahead of her time and is to be honored tomorrow for her contribution in preventing a a much larger Kevadon (better known as Thalidomide) disaster that occurred in Europe:

50 years on much of her insistence on scientific rigor and data remain the main stay of drug review and our process for managing new drugs and procedures. INteresting for someone who got the job because her name sounded like a man's

She was hired sight unseen by Dr. Eugene Geiling, a renowned pharmacology professor at theUniversity of Chicago, because he read her name as Francis. When she got the acceptance letter, in 1936, she realized his mistake and asked a professor at McGill University whether she could accept the job.

Not sure things have changed as much as we might like given the intense focus currently on Women's Equality Day on inequality on women's opportunities and pay

Dr. Kelsey demanded better tests for thalidomide. She also distrusted Merrell, a company that had a history of confrontations with the F.D.A. She soon discovered that Kevadon had been linked in Europe with reports of nerve damage — reports the company had failed to provide her.
“I had the feeling throughout the day,” she wrote after a meeting with company executives, “that they were at no time being wholly frank with me and that this attitude has obtained in all our conferences, etc., regarding this drug.”

Again - not sure things have changed much and we must continue to demand science and data to support treatments

Posted via email from drnic's posterous