Named in honor of Frances Oldham Kelsey (b.1914 in Cobble Hill, British Columbia), research pharmacologist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Washington, D.C. Kelsey's prescient research led to the recognition that fetal malformation can result from drugs that appear harmless to adults. Her integrity as a scientist and as a citizen prevented the marketing of the sedative drug thalidomide in the United States, thereby preventing an occurrence of an alarming number of limbless infants being born, as happened in countries where the drug was marketed between the late 1950s and 1962. For this action, she received in 1962 the U.S. President's Award for distinguished civilian service for (in the words of President John F. Kennedy) "sparing the nation a human tragedy."
Name proposed and citation prepared by G.C.L. Aikman.
Reference: MPC 25654