Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday asked the Biden administration to "release the stranglehold" on monoclonal antibody COVID-19 treatments by allowing states to directly purchase doses.
The Biden administration had paused shipments of Regeneron and Eli Lilly's monoclonal antibody treatments, but the decision was reversed following a letter from Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. "The federal government is actively preventing the effective distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments," Ladapo said last week.
Florida "needs at least 30,000 more doses per week than it is receiving through the Biden administration's allocation system," the governor's office said in a press release.
Prior to the federal takeover of the therapy, Florida distributed about 30,000 doses each week. Federal data obtained by The Tampa Bay Times shows that the state's hospitals have more than 12,000 doses on hand at the moment.
The state has more than $800 million ready to allocate for antibody treatments. "The only thing holding us back is the insufficient supply of treatment from the federal government," DeSantis said.
"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," he added.
"While I am pleased to see that HHS has reversed its decision to pause shipments of Regeneron and Eli Lilly's monoclonal antibody therapy treatments ... this is just the first step," said Dr. Ladapo. "Direct access to early treatment is essential to saving lives — it is not an option nor should it be barricaded by bureaucracy."
DeSantis said Tuesday that the Sunshine State could immediately open three new treatment sites if the Biden administration provides the doses.