Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ripped the Biden administration’s decision to take control of the distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 — replacing the system under which several Republican states, including his, took up most of the supply.
The US Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that it has “transitioned from a direct ordering process to a state/territory-coordinated distribution system,” saying the change will provide “health departments maximum flexibility to get these critical drugs where they are needed most.”
Seven Southern states — including Florida — took up 70 percent of the orders of monoclonal antibodies in early September, according to Politico. As a result, the Biden administration reallocated some 158,000 doses this week.
“We’ve been handed a major curveball here, with a really huge cut from HHS and the Biden administration,” DeSantis told reporters Thursday at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.
“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,” he said.
Jen Psaki on Thursday said the federal government has to look at the nationwide picture after the HSS said it was acting to ensure availability for current and future patients.Getty Images
The governor fumed that Florida was being punished for disseminating the treatment before the White House while the highly transmissible Delta variant began to spread in Southern states.
“I think we could have averted, in this country, a lot of people going to the hospital. I think it would have saved a lot of lives,” DeSantis added, Politico reported.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday said the federal government has to look at the nationwide picture after the HSS said it was acting to ensure availability for current and future patients “in all geographic areas of the country.”
“Just seven states are making up 70 percent of the orders. Our supply is not unlimited. And we believe it should be equitable across states, across the country,” Psaki said.
“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,” she added.
But DeSantis claimed the federal government was “seizing control” of the supply of monoclonal antibody treatments, according to the Sun-Sentinel, which noted that all the seven states, except Florida, have relatively low vaccination rates.
Gov. Ron DeSantis ripped the Biden administration’s decision to take control of the distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19.SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett
DeSantis has prioritized monoclonal treatments, such as Regeneron, which are considered effective if administered early in an infection, Politico reported.
But the Sunshine State governor has been at odds with the Biden administration for opposing restrictions such as requiring masks for students, vaccine passports or mandatory vaccine mandates for workers.
Meanwhile, US Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, was even more scathing in his attack on Team Biden for controlling the monoclonal antibody treatments, which cost $2,100 a dose and are paid for by the federal government.
“This is ridiculous. This is outrageous. People see it for what it is,” he said in a video he posted to Twitter. “These people are completely out of out of control. … This stuff needs to stop. These people are bordering on tyranny. And it’s outrageous. It has to stop.”
Florida surpassed 50,000 coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began, health officials said Thursday, with more than a quarter of those succumbing this summer as the state battled a fierce surge in infections fueled by the Delta variant.
With Post wires