Republican Governor Ron DeSantis (FL) announced Thursday that he has secured more doses of lifesaving antibody treatment despite the Biden administration taking control of the treatment and effectively reducing Florida’s necessary supply.
The governor posted a video Thursday announcing the move, captioned, “Governor DeSantis announces acquisition of additional doses of monoclonal antibody treatments to counteract the federal government reducing Florida’s supply of the Regeneron monoclonal treatments.”
Watch Now: Governor DeSantis announces acquisition of additional doses of monoclonal antibody treatments to counteract the federal government reducing Florida’s supply of the Regeneron monoclonal treatments. https://t.co/uNwlFXc3OT
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 23, 2021
As highlighted by The Daily Wire, the Biden administration announced they’d be rationing supply of the treatment, effectively cutting supply from COVID-positive Floridians:
As reported by Fortune, “Hospitals and other care providers will no longer be able to directly order monoclonal antibody therapies from distributors, according to a Sept. 13 update posted on the Department of Health and Human Services website.”
“Instead, the U.S. government will determine what quantity of the drugs to ship to each state and territory based on Covid-19 case numbers and use of the treatments locally. State health departments will then determine how to distribute the antibody therapies to hospitals and other sites, according to the HHS update,” the outlet added.
“Federal health officials plan to allocate specific amounts to each state under the new approach, in an effort to more evenly distribute the 150,000 doses that the government makes available each week,” Politico reported.
The move was made to apparently limit potential shortages elsewhere, though there aren’t any signs of a treatment shortage. The takeover was widely criticized and even deemed an act of “partisan payback” by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).
“Antibody treatments aren’t a substitute for vaccines. But they have prevented thousands of hospitalizations including in breakthrough cases,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) posted to Twitter last Thursday. “Now in a move that reeks of partisan payback against states like Florida, the Biden administration is rationing these treatments.”
Notably, the effective treatment has been far underutilized, as highlighted in a detailed report by The Daily Wire earlier this month. The White House, ironically, was widely criticized for not promoting the treatment and for reaching far fewer Americans than they should have mere weeks before Biden announced his move to take control of the treatment.
The most prominent company providing the treatment is Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which has teamed up with the federal government to pass along the treatment to Americans for free. The company said in late August that it was reaching fewer than 30% of eligible patients — and that was up big-time from its numbers in July, when Regeneron reached fewer than 5% of eligible patients.
The Washington Post last month criticized Biden’s effort to get the word out about the care. After Marcella Nunez-Smith, chair of the government’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, said in mid-August that the treatment is effective and helps “keep people alive,” the Post slammed: “Her statement marked one of the few times since the Biden administration took office that the antibodies have been promoted by the response team. A review of its 52 briefings or news conferences shows they were discussed mostly when Anthony S. Fauci, the team’s infectious-disease specialist, offered a research update.”
Moreover, Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, told the Post, “For the administration, mum’s the word on monoclonal antibodies, rapid home tests, high-quality masks . . . anything except vaccines. Which is wrong, since we need every tool in the kit to effectively take on delta; we’re not doing that well at all.”
Former FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan also told the Post in August that “access is still uneven and way below the number of people who could potentially benefit.”
The Biden administration has taken “some very important steps,” McClellan said, but notably admitted that “there is still a big gap, an opportunity to get more people treated and get control of the pandemic, especially with hospitals getting full in many parts of the country.”
Editor’s Note: The title of this piece, as well as some of its contents, have been edited for clarity following publication.