The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, made an announcement on Monday that he has garnered doses of the lifesaving antibody treatment on his own. He made it clear that he is bypassing President Joe Biden’s move to control the care and ration of doses as the government sees fit.
Abbott declared that he was able to bypass the White House administration’s restriction on monoclonal antibody treatments by obtaining them directly from the provider. This is according to what radio host Dana Loesch posted Monday afternoon.
Bob Garrett, the Austin Bureau Chief for The Dallas Morning News, reported that the Texas governor procured the state’s own supply of Regeneron from drug wholesaler AmerisourceBergen. They were able to do this in spite of hurdles from Biden’s administration.
It had been previously reported by Fortune that hospitals and other care providers will no longer be able to directly order monoclonal antibody therapies from distributors. This was according to a Sept. 13 update posted on the Department of Health and Human Services website.
Instead of individual states being able to order the treatment, the U.S. government would determine what quantity of the drugs to ship to each state and territory based on Covid-19 case numbers and the use of the treatments locally. State health departments would then determine how to distribute the antibody therapies to hospitals and other sites. This was according to the HHS update.
Just last week the Republican governor from Florida, Ron DeSantis, also obtained his own doses of the lifesaving treatment for the residents of his state. When announcing his plan to bypass the president, the governor posted a video on Thursday that was captioned, “Governor DeSantis announces acquisition of additional doses of monoclonal antibody treatments to counteract the federal government reducing Florida’s supply of the Regeneron monoclonal treatments.”
The Daily Wire had previously reported that the Biden administration would be rationing the supply of the treatment, effectively cutting supply for hard-hit states like Florida and Texas. This treatment has been found to reduce hospitalization and death from COVID by an amazing 70%, and there are almost no side effects. This is based on preliminary findings in recent studies. The treatment has also been shown to shorten the duration of symptoms by four days.
The government’s attempt to control the supply was made to apparently limit potential shortages in other places. But there hasn’t been any sign of treatment shortages. The control by Biden’s administration was widely criticized and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) even called it an act of “partisan payback.”
“Antibody treatments aren’t a substitute for vaccines. But they have prevented thousands of hospitalizations including in breakthrough cases,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) posted to Twitter last Thursday. “Now in a move that reeks of partisan payback against states like Florida, the Biden administration is rationing these treatments.”
This effective treatment has so far been underutilized according to a report by The Daily Wire earlier this month. The White House received criticism for not promoting the treatment and for not reaching enough citizens in the weeks before Biden made the announcement concerning the restriction of the medicine.
The company which is the most prominent one supplying the treatment is Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. They have teamed up with the federal government to pass along the treatment to Americans for free. In late August, the company said that it was reaching fewer than 30% of patients who were eligible. And that was a significant increase in their numbers from July. The company had reached fewer than 5% of eligible patients.
Former FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan also told the Post in August that access was still uneven and way below the number of people who could potentially benefit from the treatment.