Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is firing back at the Biden administration over its controversial limitation of monoclonal antibodies being used predominately by red states to curb Covid-related hospitalizations. On Thursday, the governor had sharp criticism over the Department of Health and Human Service’s new policy order.
“We are very, very concerned with the Biden administration and the HHS’s recent abrupt sudden announcement that they are going to dramatically cut the number of monoclonal antibodies that are going to be sent to the State of Florida,” DeSantis said.. “Just last week on September 9th, president Joe Biden said that his administration would be increasing shipments of monoclonal antibodies in September by 50%, and yet on September 13th, HHS announced that it was seizing control of the monoclonal antibody supply and that it would control distribution. And then on September 14th, the announcement was more than 50% of the monoclonal antibodies that had been used in Florida were going to be reduced.”
“What the HHS and the Biden administration is now doing is they’re saying that all of the reduced amount will go to the state, and we’re responsible not only for sourcing our sites, which we’re happy to do, but any infusion center, any provider, any hospital will have to come through the state and to just spring this on us starting next week, we’re going to have to do that. There’s going to be a huge disruption and patients are going to suffer as a result of this.”
An HHS spokesperson told the Daily Caller the agency is “focused on ensuring consistent availability of COVID-19 monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapeutic products for administration sites across the country. We are constantly assessing the environment and our distribution process to determine if and when changes need to be made, and we have adjusted the distribution process several times this year already to optimize our stewardship of these products.”
“The recent increase in the prevalence of the Delta variant coupled with low vaccination rates in certain areas of the country resulted in a substantial (20-fold) increase in the ordering and utilization of mAbs since mid-July,” the agency added. “Just seven states accounted for about 70% of our monoclonal antibody ordering. As such, we have updated the distribution process again this week to allow for a more consistent supply of mAbs that is responsive to cases and utilization in all geographic areas of the country.”
At a White House press briefing on Thursday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki had plenty to say about criticism of the Biden policy.
“[Biden] promised on September 9th that he was going to send 50% more supply of monoclonal antibodies to states,” Newsmax’s Emrald Robinson pointed out. “Yet, the Biden administration is cutting supplies to red states by a factor of 50%. So, for example, you know, in Florida they were expecting to get 70,000 doses this week, which they say they need, but they said they are only getting 30,000 doses.”
“And this is not just for unvaccinated people, in South Florida, half the people who were seeking this treatment are fully vaccinated,” Robinson continued. “So, why is the Biden administration cutting these supplies?”
“That’s not accurate,” she protested. “So let me give you the accurate information. First of all, we are increasing our distribution this month by 50 percent,” she claimed.
“In early August, we were distributing an average of 100,000 doses per week. Now we’re shipping an average of 150,000 doses per week,” Psaki continued. “Over the last month, though — and one thing that I think people need to understand for clarity, facts, I know you like facts — is that monoclonal antibodies are life-saving therapies that are used after infection to prevent more severe outcome. So, clearly, the way to protect people and save more lives is to get them vaccinated so that they don’t get Covid to begin with,” she lectured.
“But over the last month, given the rise in cases due to the Delta variant and the lower number of vaccination rates in some of these states, like Florida, like Texas, just seven states are making up 70 percent of the orders,” she continued. “Our supply is not unlimited and we believe it should be equitable across states, across the country.”
“There have been no reports of a lack of supplies,” Robinson noted. “So, why cut them to those states only…”
“I think our role,” Psaki interjected, “As the government overseeing the entire country is to be equitable in how we distribute. We are not going to give a greater percentage to Florida over Oklahoma, nor do I think you are suggesting that.”
The United States of America, however, was not designed for Washington D.C. bureaucrats to dictate health policy for individual states. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is thus seeking ways to get around the Biden decree.
— Forrest Saunders (@FBSaunders) September 16, 2021
“Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis confirming this– saying today he will seek to buy monoclonal therapies directly from GSK, circumventing the HHS process,” Forrest Saunders reported.
It will be interesting to see if the Biden administration attempts to block these purchases, as well. Then, it will be readily apparent to all that “equity” had nothing to do with the HHS’ change of policy.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.