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President Proposes Stronger Drug Laws

Aug. 1, 1962 - Stronger laws to protect consumers from potentially harmful drugs such as thalidomide were proposed by President Kennedy today. He asked for passage of an Administration bill tightening drug laws and said “we ought to be tougher” in regulation of experimental use of drugs not cleared for the market. Thalidomide has been blamed for the deformities of thousands of babies in Germany and elsewhere abroad. It was kept off the American market by an FDA scientist, Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey. However, it was used in testing on patients in many parts of this nation. Earlier today, Dr. Kelsey told a Senate subcommittee that thalidomide was available for experimental use by certain American physicians for nearly a year after she had first suspected it might affect unborn babies. Thalidomide was withdrawn from experimental use in March, months after German reports linked the drug to the increase in the number of deformed babies.


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