Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has spent weeks touring the state and touting the effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies as a treatment for COVID-19.
But without warning, and for no publicly stated purpose, the Biden administration has cut the supply of the drugs to Florida by more than half, potentially putting Floridians’ lives at risk.
That unannounced decision came just days after President Joe Biden announced the feds were actually ramping up production by half.
Prior to this week, Florida was allotted 72,000 doses of monoclonal antibodies, or mAbs. That amount was split evenly among the state Health Department, which oversees 25 sites to administer the mAbs statewide, and private healthcare providers, who were able to buy directly from drugmakers.
But on Tuesday, the Biden administration unexpectedly announced that the supply would be cut to 30,950, according to DeSantis’ office.
That occurred one day after a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officials told The Washington Post that the agency would “determine the amount of product each state and territory receives.”
That decision will ripple primarily across red states in the South.
The Post noted that 70 percent of the current mAb supply is shipped to Alabama, Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Louisiana. All but Louisiana have Republican governors.
“We were happy to see that Biden’s COVID plan announced last week included a 50 percent increase in monoclonal antibody deliveries to states this month,” said Christina Pushaw, said DeSantis’ press secretary.
“So it’s surprising and deeply disappointing to see that the Biden administration would break its promise just a week later and cut mAb allocation to Florida, so they aren’t even providing half of the doses of live-saving treatment that COVID patients in Florida will need.
“But the governor,” Pushaw added, “is committed to ensuring that everyone who needs the treatment will be able to get it, even if we can’t count on the Biden administration.”
Monoclonal antibody treatment was what former President Donald Trump received after he contracted COVID last year. The federal government then bought up the mAb supply in the closing days of the Trump administration and planned to distribute it to states through the HHS.
According to DeSantis’ office, that system worked fine.
But on Sept. 3, HHS said it was reviewing the distribution process. One reason was to ensure that sites receiving it were using at 70 percent of the supply they receive. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said that was done to ensure the “equitable” distribution of the drug.
Florida’s Health Department did not think that was an issue, since all 25 of the state’s sites were using at least that much.
State officials continued to think that as recently as Monday, when, according to records, HHS notified them that it was monitoring the supply, and did not signal any intention to cut the allotment.
That changed on Tuesday – without warning.
As the Free Press reported this week, U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican, wrote Becerra to demand answers about the shift because his state was affected as well.
“The last thing HHS should be doing is impeding on providers’ ability to best serve their patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Roy told The Blaze.
“This recent HHS order will further prevent doctors from being able to treat their patients and prevent their patients from receiving the care they need when they need it.”
“The federal government should not be in the business of dictating healthcare,” the congressman added. “The American people deserve answers on why and under which authority HHS made this decision.”
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