Anti-thalidomide hero Frances Oldham Kelsey has died at the age of 101.
The Canadian doctor played a central role in preventing the drug being distributed in the US.
Frances Oldham Kelsey refused to approve thalidomide while working for the FDA in the 1960s.
It was later found that thalidomide – prescribed to pregnant women to ease morning sickness – was causing thousands of babies to be born with missing limbs or organs. Many died.
Dr. Kelsey was lauded by citizens’ groups and was awarded honorary degrees.
She passed away in London, Ontario, on August 7, Canada’s CBC reported.
Her daughter Christine Kelsey was by her side.
Frances Oldham Kelsey is seen as a hero by many across the US for raising concerns about the safety of thalidomide, which is also known as Kevadon.
She continued to press the manufacturer – who complained about her attitude – for information.
The side-effects of the drug then became apparent as the battle of wills dragged on.
Frances Oldham Kelsey was given the award for distinguished federal civilian service by President John F. Kennedy.
Last month Frances Oldham Kelsey was appointed to the Order of Canada.