On Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that he was, “very very concerned” about President Joe Biden’s decision to restrict distribution of monoclonal antibodies to states while there is a rise in COVID-19 cases prompting a surge in the demand for the treatment in mainly southern states.
Late last week, Biden announced that the administration would be increasing shipments for the month of September by 50%.
But earlier this week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it was seizing control of the nationwide supply of the COVID-19 treatment, and would be controlling distribution.
I will fight like hell to overcome Biden’s cruel decision to drastically reduce lifesaving monoclonal antibody treatments for Floridians. We've seen steep reductions in hospital admissions due to early treatment efforts. It’s wrong to penalize Florida for his partisan bitterness. pic.twitter.com/24APj0r50K
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 17, 2021
Fighting COVID In The Sunshine State
Immediately after the announcement that HHS would be controlling the supply of monoclonal antibodies came another statement that the supply that would be used in Florida would be cut by 50%.
DeSantis explained, “So this is a dramatic reduction, and I’d say it’s doubly problematic because what Shane Strum and folks in Tampa General and these other hospital systems that have been doing this, they’re not getting it from the state.”
DeSantis continued, saying that from the reduced amount given to the state, that anyone providing monoclonal antibody treatment in Florida, including hospitals will have to obtain their supply from the state.
The Governor added that he is going to, “work like hell to make sure” that Florida “can overcome the obstacles that HHS and the Biden administration” are placing not just on Florida, but other states as well. He continued, “There’s going to be a huge disruption and patients are going to suffer as a result of this.”
DeSantis also said that he had spoken with executives at GlaxoSmithKline, one of the manufacturers of monoclonal antibodies, and he believes that Florida will be able to order the treatment directly from them.
The Biden admin hasn't made a single federal purchase from Glaxo since their monoclonal antibody product was authorized in May… what are the odds they swoop in with exclusive deal now while DeSantis is negotiating his own bulk buy, just to prevent Florida from getting it?
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) September 17, 2021
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Are There Ulterior Motives?
Also on Thursday, HHS issued a statement that read in part:
“HHS will determine the amount of product each state and territory receives on a weekly basis. State and territorial health departments will subsequently identify sites that will receive product and how much. This system will help maintain equitable distribution, both geographically and temporally, across the country — providing states and territories with consistent, fairly-distributed supply over the coming weeks.”
According to U.S. News & World Report, just seven states, Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana have accounted for roughly 70% of orders from the manufacturer.
However, with the exception of Louisiana, all of these states have on thing in common.
They all have Republican governors.
During a press conference on Thursday, President Biden attacked DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott and claimed they were undermining “the life-saving requirements” being touted by his administration.
Biden also said, “This is the worst kind of politics, because it’s putting the lives of citizens of their states, especially children, at risk and I refuse to give into it.”
In a tweet, Donald Trump Jr. also speculated that Biden’s actions may be the result of political payback, “Americans will die because of Biden’s despicable decision to punish his political enemies in red states by restricting their ability to secure life-saving monoclonal antibody treatments for all that need them. Their blood is directly on Joe’s hands.”
Americans will die because of Biden's despicable decision to punish his political enemies in red states by restricting their ability to secure life-saving monoclonal antibody treatments for all that need them.
Their blood is directly on Joe's hands.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) September 16, 2021
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) also accused Biden and his administration of playing politics with the lives of Floridians. “Antibody treatments aren’t a substitute for vaccines But they have prevented thousands of hospitalizations including in breakthrough cases. Now in a move that reeks of partisan payback against states like Florida, the Biden administration is rationing these treatments.”
Antibody treatments aren’t a substitute for vaccines
But they have prevented thousands of hospitalizations including in breakthrough cases
Now in a move that reeks of partisan payback against states like Florida,the Biden administration is rationing these treatments
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 16, 2021
History Between Biden And DeSantis
The slap fight between Ron DeSantis and Joe Biden has been an ongoing one since Biden suggested that any governors who opposed restrictive COVID rules should “get out of the way.”
DeSantis was having none of it, and immediately ripped into Biden, mentioning his poor job on the southern border, and declared he would do what he needed to in order to keep Floridians safe.
Later, when asked about DeSantis’ statements, Biden smirked and said, “Governor who?” Joe Biden has continued to make comments about GOP governors that criticize their handling of COVID in their respective states.
DeSantis called him out yet again.
This time blasting him for the chaos of the withdrawal in Afghanistan, “If he spent a little less time talking about Florida and more time doing his job as Commander-in-Chief, we might not have 13 service members who were killed in action in Afghanistan because of his ineptitude and dereliction of duty.”
The Biden HHS has discovered that states like FL and TX, with effective GOP Governors, have been doing well with monoclonal antibody therapies.
Therefore the Biden HHS has decided that it will federalize access to monoclonal antibodies, because "equity."https://t.co/cRgzv4iEab
— Nan Hayworth, M.D. (@NanHayworth) September 15, 2021
This piece originally appeared in ThePoliticalInsider.com and is used by permission.
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