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Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has introduced a bill on Tuesday that would allow states to directly purchase COVID-19 treatments such as monoclonal antibodies instead of through the federal government as states seek to bypass the Biden administration’s distribution restrictions.
The bill, S3440, would amend the Defense Production Act of 1950 and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to allow states to use federal funds to purchase supplies related to COVID-19. The legislation would also prohibit the federal government from “prioritizing Federal contracts over State contracts relating to purchasing supplies to combat the COVID–19 pandemic.”
“For months, many of us have been sounding the alarm over the Biden administration’s federal takeover of monoclonal antibody treatment distribution,” Cruz said in a Wednesday statement to Fox News.
“The bill I’ve introduced would empower states to determine their own needs, so those now facing critical shortages because of the Biden administration’s misguided policy can ensure their citizens are able to get the care they need. President Biden has finally admitted that states, not the federal government, are the answer in situations like this and my bill is a great first step in that direction,” the statement added.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 6, 2022
Texas has already reportedly purchased antibodies on its own. The Daily Wire reported in September:
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) announced Monday that he has obtained doses of lifesaving antibody treatment on his own, bypassing President Joe Biden’s move to take control of the care and ration doses as he sees fit…
Austin Bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News Bob Garrett detailed, “[Gov. Greg Abbott] says Texas has obtained its own supply of Regeneron, despite roadblocks from Biden administration, from drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen. State purchasing directly, Abbott tells [Dana Loesch]. ‘Consider this treatment,’ he tells people testing + for #COVID19.”
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has also previously made purchases of the antibodies for his state.
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
In December, the Florida surgeon general sent a letter addressing the Biden administration’s failures to adequately and fairly distribute the antibody treatment. The Daily Wire reported:
Florida Surgeon General Joseph A. Ladopo sent a searing letter to the Biden administration’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, accusing the Biden administration of “actively preventing the effective distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments in the U.S.”
Ladopo pointed out that in August, Florida GOP governor Ron DeSantis had “announced a rapid increase in the availability of monoclonal antibody therapy treatments across the state,” adding, “In a matter of weeks, the state had 25 monoclonal antibody sites up and running – leading the nation in widespread early COVID-19 treatment availability.”
“By mid-September, the State of Florida provided this life-saving treatment to nearly 100,000 patients,” he continued. “These sites served 5,000 patients a day at the peak and nearly 30,000 per week. Florida pioneered monoclonal antibodies as a statewide solution to prevent severe illness and reduce the strain of COVID-19 on the state’s hospital systems.”
Members of the Florida Republican Congressional delegation also sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Wednesday asking for him to change his policies regarding monoclonal antibody drugs, calling current policies “shortsighted and burdensome” as the state seeks additional supplies.