In a move that’s been criticized as an act of “partisan payback,” President Joe Biden is effectively cutting lifesaving antibody treatment from COVID-positive Floridians without any signs of a treatment shortage.
Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis — a top target of the Democrat Party and major contender for 2024 — has been praised for leading the nation in promoting and providing the lifesaving care throughout his state.
“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 Thursday. “Now in a move that reeks of partisan payback against states like Florida, the Biden administration is rationing these treatments.”
Since DeSantis started heavily promoting the lifesaving care in August, more than 90,000 Floridians have received the treatment and hospitals have dropped occupancy by a stunning 50% since its peak.
The governor has overseen the opening of 25 state-sponsored sites, making Florida far and away the leader in treatment accessibility in the nation.
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.
For example, 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.”
Now, Biden has moved to ration the supply as Florida leads the nation in care and promotion. evidence suggests the treatment is still being underutilized.
The Daily Wire reported on the new move from the Biden administration on Thursday:
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.