Frances Kelsey

from by Brooke Abbey

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Frances Kelsey is my pharmacy hero. There is a lot of money and misdirection to cut through in my industry. (I'm a pharmacist when I'm not behind this banjo.) Rules are always being bent and broken and there is so much more work to be done - but it's because of her that the rules exist at all.

lyrics

Thalidomide was sold in 50 countries around the world C E F
and you know how the story played, Am
the wonder drug, the birth betrayed F
the price that all those families paid Gsus4 G
But it didn't happen everywhere that way C G

Let's look inside the 1960 FDA
The drug went to their new MD
They said "It's safe!" She said "I see."
"I'm afraid I can't agree -
I have a few more questions for you first.

Frances Kelsey, quiet bulldog of the FDA C F
Doctor Kelsey made them throw their rubber stamp away C G
Doctor Kelsey changed the law C
And a nation's women saw F
Being stubborn is a virtue, not a flaw. C G C

She said "I'd like a study, not a story, please."
They applied and reapplied
They bullied - or at least they tried
As she calmly marked DENIED
* She said "It's only natural they're anxious,"

Two years pass and they stop trying to get past her
As the grim reports were filed
Of what the drug does to a child
And the company, reviled,
Said "We didn't know," - she said "Exactly."

Frances Kelsey, quiet bulldog of the FDA
Doctor Kelsey made them throw their rubber stamp away
Doctor Kelsey changed the law
And a nation's women saw
Being stubborn is a virtue, not a flaw.

Thalidomide touched twelve thousand children,
But just a handful in the USA
For standing in the company's way
One scientist they could not sway
One woman holding fast to what is true

The law was changed that year to say enough's enough
A drug must be proved safe, and more -
A drug must work for what it's for
You can't just push it through the door
Now raise a toast to courage and to doubt

Frances Kelsey, quiet bulldog of the FDA
Doctor Kelsey made them throw their rubber stamp away
Doctor Kelsey changed the law
And a nation's women saw
Being stubborn is a virtue, not a flaw. C E F
Being stubborn is a virtue, not a flaw. C G C

credits

from Stuff from 2012!, track released September 23, 2012

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Brooke Abbey Vancouver

Brooke Abbey (formerly Brooke Lunderville) is a banjo-playing pharmacist from Vancouver, BC.

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