Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed this week to “fight like hell” to keep expanding the state’s supply of monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 after the Biden administration slashed it in half.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced this week that it has “transitioned from a direct ordering process to a state/territory-coordinated distribution system,” which means states that have heavily relied on monoclonal antibody treatments up to this point will not be allowed to order as much as they had before.
Florida’s supply was cut by 50% “abruptly,” DeSantis said.
If the Biden administration will not continue to supply Floridians with the treatment many coronavirus patients need, DeSantis vowed to circumvent the federal government and get the treatment directly from the source.
He said he had a call with GlaxoSmithKline executives earlier this week to discuss their monoclonal antibody treatment, known as Sutrovimab, right away.
Previously, Florida had used the drug Regeneron as its monoclonal antibody treatment.
However, DeSantis said there is a lot of evidence that Sutrovimab is even more effective.
“The clinical data on that was even better than the clinical data on Regeneron – 85% reduction in hospitalizations. It is not approved for subcutaneous injections, so if we get it, and we use it at our sites, we have to expand the amount of IV treatments that are available, which we are going to be willing to do,” he said.
Florida’s @GovRonDeSantis confirming this– saying today he will seek to buy monoclonal therapies directly from GSK, circumventing the HHS process. pic.twitter.com/YX8MKBxAEd
— Forrest Saunders (@FBSaunders) September 16, 2021
DeSantis’s press secretary, Christina Pushaw, defended DeSantis’s decision to look elsewhere for treatment and said this would not have been necessary if the Biden administration hadn’t decided to “play politics” with people’s lives by rationing Regeneron.
However, White House press secretary Jen Psaki denied that the administration was deliberately targeting Florida and Texas.
“Just seven states are making up 70% of the orders. Supply is not unlimited,” she said. “We believe it should be equitable across states across the country. I think our role as the government overseeing the entire country is to be equitable in how we distribute. We’re not going to give a greater percentage to Florida over Oklahoma.”
A reporter asks about the federal government cutting supplies of monoclonal antibody treatments to red states.@PressSec: “Our role as the government overseeing the entire country is to be equitable in how we distribute.” pic.twitter.com/WJ9HNHTM4k
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 16, 2021
DeSantis rejected Psaki’s “equitable” approach and argued the only reason the Biden administration is pushing monoclonal antibody treatments as hard as it is now is because his state administration brought attention to it.
“Many thousands would have ended up in the hospital, and of course, some of them would have ended up dying, so it has saved lives here in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “We’re going to make sure we leave no stone unturned. Whoever needs a treatment, we’re going to work like hell to get them the treatment.”