In 1938 at the University of Chicago Frances Kelsey and her colleagues, identified diethylene glycol was the ingredient found in “elixir sulfanilamide” which killed more than 100 people before it was withdrawn.
Frances Kelsey took a stand against thalidomide during her first month at the food and drug administration. In November 1961 reports emerged in Germany and the UK that thalidomide was causing severe birth defects for women who consumed the drug during pregnancy. After at least 4000 children in Europe were affected, Dr Helen Taussig helped Frances Kelsey to ban the drug
On August 7 1962 President John F.kennedy awarded Frances Kelsey the Preseidents award for distinguished federal civilian service. In 1963, she was appointed the head of the FDA's investigational drug branch. In 1967, she became director of the office of scientific investigations
Frances Kelsey had a very large impact on medical society and her wor saved many lives, especially the lives of unborn children when she was able to ban the use of thalidomide and prevent severe birth defects from consuming the medication during pregnancy without her work, many lives would have been lost due to "elixir sulfanilamide" which demonstrates how extraordinary and significant her work was and is today. Her work continues to live on today preventing the use of harmful drugs and investigating new drugs and their effects.