July 30, 1962 - A total of 1,229 physicians in 39 states and the District of Columbia and 1 in Canada received test samples of thalidomide, a drug blamed for thousands of birth defects in Europe. This was announced today by the FDA. Meanwhile, a Senate hearing into thalidomide has been called for Wednesday by Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, Democrat of Minnesota. Senator Humphrey said today that the case was an “international tragedy.” Sale of the drug in the U.S., he asserted, was blocked “by chance.” In fact, thalidomide was kept off the U.S. drug market by Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey, a physician with the new drugs branch of the FDA. She had said proof of its safety had not been established and refused to approve it for sale here.