The Biden administration has increasingly taken control of the nation’s supply of monoclonal antibody treatments, but after it suddenly halted shipments of the life-saving medicine to Florida, Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo sent a letter to Xavier Becerra, secretary of Health and Human Services, to reverse course, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called on President Biden to release at least 30,000 more doses per week to the Sunshine State.
Ladapo wrote in his letter to HHS, “The federal government is actively preventing the effective distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments in the U.S. The sudden suspension of multiple monoclonal antibody therapy treatments from distribution to Florida removes a healthcare provider’s ability to decide the best treatment options for their patients in this state. This shortsightedness is especially evident given that the federal government effectively prohibited states from purchasing these monoclonal antibodies and serving their populations directly.”
“President Biden recently stated that there is no federal solution to COVID-19, and solving this pandemic will happen at the state level. Therefore, as Surgeon General, I respectfully request that you allow states and healthcare practitioners to provide treatment options that best benefit the communities they know and serve.”
While the Biden administration has since resumed shipments, the numbers are still far below what DeSantis wants. “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,” DeSantis said. “The state has more than $800 million available to quickly deploy monoclonal antibody treatments throughout the state, and the only thing holding us back is the insufficient supply of treatment from the federal government.”
He added, “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.”
Ladapo was pleased that his letter resulted in resumed shipments of Regeneron and Eli Lilly’s monoclonal antibody therapies to Florida. “Direct access to early treatment is essential to saving lives – it is not an option nor should it be barricaded by bureaucracy,” he said.
HHS officials were limiting the supply of the treatments to Florida in order to ensure that no one state used too much of the finite supply of antibodies. Florida has been innovative in its use of monoclonal antibody treatments, setting up centers throughout the state to make it easy for residents to access the medicine, which must be received early in the disease process for maximum efficacy.
When Obamacare was put into place, the American people were told that the government would never get in between doctors and patients. Some 10 years later, this has proven to be false, and there is no greater evidence of it than the centralized micro-management of COVID. Vaccine mandates and the ongoing restriction of early, potentially life-saving treatments show just how involved the government has become in the personal medical decisions of each and every American.
Two years into the COVID crisis and the Biden administration has finally admitted that the federal government cannot solve COVID. No regulations or restrictions will ever stop the virus from becoming endemic, and yet the federal government continues to insert itself into states’ ability to effectively deal with the situation. If the solution is to come from the states, then the federal government must get out of the way.
Perhaps rather than investing in mandates, the federal government should focus on expanding therapeutic treatments. Maybe then doctors could quit worrying about being second-guessed and get back to using their own knowledge, experience, and judgment to effectively treat their patients.