A COMMISH MANY WILL MISS

IN SIX TUMULTUOUS YEARS AT THE FDA, DAVID KESSLER DID THE UNEXPECTED: HE IMPROVED PUBLIC HEALTH

After announcing his decision last week to resign as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, David Kessler remarked, "We took on some of the most difficult regulatory challenges, and I think we've made some progress." Not even the numerous--and vociferous--critics of Kessler's tumultuous six years at the FDA would argue with the first part of that statement. Kessler, 45, was a rarity among Washington bureaucrats: a political appointee willing to embrace controversy and weather the consequences.

Named to the post by George Bush in 1990, Kessler inherited an agency understaffed and demoralized after the antiregulatory ardor of the Reagan years....

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