Former FDA chief David Kessler fired by UC San Francisco

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Former FDA commissioner  David A. Kessler, who refused to allow DTC advertising during his term, has been fired from his $540,000-a-year position as dean of the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, but remains as tenured faculty member.

According to a Washington Post report, the termination came after what Kessler called years of university questioning “financial irregularities” that predated his 2003 appointment.

He told the Post he had “tried to solve the problems, because this money was not being used for the medical center, for program development, recruitment, medical education.”

The problems, which involved the apparent depletion of about $90 million in dean's office reserves over 18 months, were reported to the university by Kessler in 2005, the newspaper said. After an anonymous letter blamed Kessler for the declining finances, an audit and additional reviews were conducted but reportedly found no irregularities.

According to a university statement, the medical school has a policy protecting whistle-blowers, and Kessler had access to a confidential retaliation grievance procedure. The Post quoted from an email sent to colleagues by chancellor J. Michael Bishop announcing Kessler's departure from the dean's office and saying: “I thank him for his energetic service to the university and his substantial achievements on behalf of UCSF.”

An audit cleared Kessler of wrongdoing, the Post said, and the university counsel named him as a whistleblower. Kessler gave the newspaper spreadsheets of school finances and financial analyses he said he prepared for UCSF.

Kessler said he was asked to resign at the end of June, but “I refused. I couldn't.” 
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