A Chat with the Pharmacist-in-Chief

FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan talks about accelerated drug approvals, affordability, and lowering the cost of innovation

The Food & Drug Administration regulates more than 20% of the entire economy. And after controversial FDA Commissioner Dr. David A. Kessler raised the job's profile, the position became even more of a lightning rod. In part, that's why the top slot remained open for nearly two years after President George W. Bush assumed office. The Administration and Congress had a nasty fight over who was appropriate for the job. The White House wanted someone with industry ties, not a prominent academic who might turn out to be an activist, as Kessler had been. Senator Edward Kennedy, however, drew a line in the sand, nixing everyone with industry connections.

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