The ability of David Kessler, the 41-year-old commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to survive the purge of Bush appointees by the Clinton administration is an achievement being greeted with praise by some in the pharmaceutical, food, and biotechnology industries; and measured disappointment by some manufacturers of medical devices.

Kessler was asked to retain his position by the Clinton administration in February. He took the reins of the agency in December 1990, and at that time announced he would engage in major reorganizing efforts to revitalize and reinvigorate the agency. Previously, FDA had been criticized for its slow enforcement of laws and regulations. But whether or not those efforts, which included appointing new section heads and reorganizing major departments, are perceived as successful depends on one's industry segment, says John Villforth, director of the Food and Drug Law Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that monitors FDA....

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