House Republicans ask Justice to address race-based distribution of monoclonal antibody treatment

Several states have adopted an FDA guidance that lists race as a criteria that can be used to determine who will receive certain types of COVID treatment

Updated: January 28, 2022 - 3:21pm

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House Judiciary Republicans sent a letter Friday to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking that the Justice Department promptly address reports of racially discrimination in distributing monoclonal antibody and other COVID-19 treatments.

"We write in response to disturbing reports that certain states, acting at the recommendation of President Biden’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have implemented policies governing the distribution of monoclonal antibody and other COVID-19 treatments that discriminate on the basis of race," reads the letter, spearheaded by Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) 

"Due to President Biden’s haphazard pandemic response, our nation finds itself in a situation where life-saving treatments are being rationed," the letter also states. 

According to a recent guidance from the FDA, some factors including medical conditions and age can elevate an individual's risk for developing a severe COVID case.

The guidance, however, also explicitly directs providers to take race and ethnic background into consideration when determining what treatment to distribute. 

"These shocking displays of racial discrimination run counter to the principles we hold dear as Americans," the letter also reads. "The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution provides that no State shall 'deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'

"Unfortunately, the inhabitants of these states are receiving different treatment from their own state governments based in no small part on their racial background. Racism is an evil that our country has fought against for generations, and we must stand up for the rights of all Americans to receive equal protection under the law."

Due to the FDA's recommendation, such states as Minnesota, New York and Utah have begun prioritizing race over high-risk medical conditions in determining who will receive certain sorts of COVID treatments.

At an Arizona rally event earlier this month, former President Trump told a crowd, "In New York State, if you’re white, you have to go to the back of the line to get medical help. Think of it. If you’re white, you go right to the back of the line."