Vacancy: Food And Drug Czar

The crucial post of Food and Drug commissioner--vacant ever since President Bush took office more than a year ago--finally seemed to have found its man. He was Alastair J.J. Wood, a respected drug-safety expert at Vanderbilt University. Wood, who had been interviewed several times by the White House and told he was the front runner for the job, had the support of usually querulous public interest groups, as well as Senate health-care leaders from both parties. It seemed an easy confirmation.

But Wood was suddenly dropped from consideration last month after pressure was exerted by an even more influential group:...

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