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Kessler: Potential FDA commissioner shouldn't learn on the job

This article was originally published in The Silver Sheet

Executive Summary

Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler has some ideas about the kind of person President-elect Barack Obama should pick to succeed Andrew von Eschenbach at FDA. At a recent meeting hosted by communications firm Fleishman Hillard, Kessler described the best individual for the commissioner job: a physician with broad expertise across the regulated industries who has worked in Washington, D.C., and has experience managing a large organization. "Please, whatever you do, don't bring me an academic doc who doesn't understand foods, who doesn't understand the agency," said Kessler, who was commissioner from 1990 to 1997 under the first Bush administration, as well as the Clinton administration. "We just can't afford learning on the job." Kessler currently serves as a professor of pediatrics and epidemiology and biostatistics at UC-San Francisco
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