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Tonight: David Kilcullen, Philip Mudd, David Ignatius and more Yesterday: Phil Jackson and Richard Anderson 5/21: Andrew Revkin, Peter Baker, David Paulison and more 5/20: Farnaz Fassihi, Ben Wedeman, Tung Chee Hwa and more 5/17: Karen Tumulty, Al Hunt, Jessica Yellin and more
David Aaron Kessler is an American physician, lawyer, and government official. He was the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from November 8, 1990 to February 28, 1997.
After graduating from Amherst College in 1973, Kessler studied medicine at Harvard University, graduating with an M.D. degree in 1979, and law at the University of Chicago, graduating with a J.D. in 1978. While serving his residency in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, he worked as a consultant to Republican Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah on the safety of food additives and on the regulation of cigarettes and tobacco. From 1984, Kessler simultaneously ran a 431-bed teaching hospital in New York City and taught at the Columbia Law School and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
As FDA commissioner under George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Kessler moved quickly to make the agency more efficient, cutting the time needed to approve or reject new drugs, including AIDS drugs, and more vigilant in protecting consumers against unsafe products and inflated label claims. Under his watch the FDA enacted regulations requiring standardized Nutrition Facts labels on food.
Kessler is also known for his role in having the FDA investigate whether it had the power to regulate cigarettes, which resulted in the FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. case.
He is currently the dean and vice chancellor at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School.