DeSantis Calls On Biden Administration To Release ’Federal Stranglehold’ On COVID Antibody Treatments

DeSantis Calls On Biden Administration To Release ’Federal Stranglehold’ On COVID Antibody Treatments

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
January 3, 2022

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling on the Biden administration to allow his state to obtain or purchase directly more monoclonal antibody treatments.

During a press conference at Broward Health Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale, DeSantis shed light on the Biden administration's restrictions on Florida's ability to provide monoclonal antibody treatments and called on the federal government to allow states to directly purchase them as well.

"Prior to the federal government takeover of the monoclonal market, Florida successfully distributed approximately 30,000 doses per week when we managed our own supply. After failing to 'shut down the virus,' the Biden Administration has come to the realization that there is not a federal solution to COVID-19, and releasing the federal stranglehold on these effective treatments is a good first step," DeSantis told reporters Monday.

"The federal government has cornered the entire market. They basically took control of the supply in September," DeSantis added.

DeSantis said Florida needs at least 30,000 more doses per week than it receives through the federal government allocation to expand capacity at existing monoclonal antibody treatment sites and open new sites to treat 250-300 patients per day at each site.

"Instead of allowing other states to follow Florida's lead to provide this lifesaving treatment to their citizens, the Biden Administration decided to take full control of the supply of monoclonals, then dramatically cut Florida's supply," DeSantis said.

"We do not believe that the federal government should be holding back any more medications. We think we have to offer this, particularly for our elderly population," he added.

Monoclonal antibodies are highly effective in preventing hospitalization among people with mild to moderate COVID-19. Florida pioneered the widespread use of monoclonals and educated the public and, in some cases medical professionals, about the success of this treatment in preventing serious illness and hospitalizations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Floridians.

DeSantis didn't say when he expects the doses to arrive from HHS but declared that he'll set up treatment sites in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties as well as a site in Central Florida "the next day."

Last week, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joe Ladapo wrote a letter to the Health and Human Services Department Secretary Xavier Becerra requesting the federal government restore the distribution of monoclonal antibodies treatments to the Sunshine State.

"The federal government is actively preventing the effective distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments in the U.S.," Ladapo wrote in the letter to HHS. "The sudden suspension of multiple monoclonal antibody therapy treatments from distribution to Florida removes a health care provider's ability to decide the best treatment options for their patients in this state."

Following Ladapo's letter, HHS "dramatically" reversed its decision to pause shipments of Regeneron and Eli Lilly's monoclonal antibody therapy treatments. The Florida governor said HHS announced Sunday that they'd be sending more treatments and said the state would likely receive between 30,000 and 40,000 treatments.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has also asked Biden for help with monoclonal antibody treatments.

"Testing sites, additional medical staff, and continued shipments of therapeutics from the federal government will help us continue to save lives and mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Abbott said.

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

Mona Salama is a political reporter for The Floridian covering Congress, the White House and Congressional elections.

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