Women’s History in Pharma


For women’s history month we thought we would educate ourselves on a few women in pharmaceutical/medical history. Below are a few women we learned about:

  • Gerturde Elion (1918-1999): Elion won a Novel Prize along with George H Hitchins and Sir James Black for a new method of drug design focussed on identifying the drug targets as opposed to the previous method or trial and error. Using this method she and her colleagues developed treatments for leukemia, herpes, AIDS, malaria, gout, herpes and organ rejection. Throughout her career she worked at Johnson and Johnson and Burroughs-Wellcome (now GSK).

  • Frances Oldham Kelsey (1914–2015): Kelsey was a Canadian-American pharmacologist and physician who was a reviewer at the US Food and Drug Administration. She refused to authorize thalidomide due to concerns about harm to the fetus, preventing potential birth defects and shaping future drug approval standards.

  • Leila Denmark (1898-2012): Denmark was a pediatrician who partnered with Eli Lilly and Emory University to create a vaccine for whooping cough. When she retired she was the world’s older practicing pediatrician at the age of 103.

Hope you learned a something about a few inspiring women in pharma. Happy Women’s History Month!


-Cristi

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