By HANNAH BLEAU Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) this week continued his battle with the Biden administration over the distribution of lifesaving coronavirus treatment, as U.S. health regulators opted to revoke emergency use authorization (EUA) for Regeneron and Eli Lilly monoclonal antibody treatments — a move the governor deemed an “indefensible edict” as 2,000 Floridians had their appointments for such treatment canceled.
U.S. health regulators announced on Monday they would revoke emergency authorization for both Regeneron and Eli Lilly, attributing the decision to the claims that they do not work against the omicron variant of the virus. Notably, health regulators did not make the same decision for the coronavirus vaccine, despite studies suggesting its waning effectiveness against the omicron variant.
“Without a shred of clinical data to support this action, Biden has forced trained medical professionals to choose between treating their patients or breaking the law,” DeSantis said in a scathing statement:
“This indefensible edict takes treatment out of the hands of medical professionals and will cost some Americans their lives,” he continued. “There are real-world implications to Biden’s medical authoritarianism – Americans’ access to treatments is now subject to the whims of a failing president.”
Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo also released a statement, noting the importance of having treatment options available for individuals seeking help — help that could save their lives.
“The federal government has failed to adequately provide the United States with adequate outpatient treatment options for COVID-19. Now, they are scrambling to cover up a failure to deliver on a promise to ‘shut down the virus,’” Ladapo said.
DeSantis was among the first to spread the word about the effectiveness of monoclonal antibody treatments, as his administration continued to open treatment centers across the Sunshine State. But because of the Biden administration’s actions, 2,000 Floridians who had appointments to receive such treatments had their appointments canceled this week.
DeSantis’s office continued:
This decision was made solely by Biden’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) without advance warning to states or health providers and without clinical data to support the decision. The deliberate decision by the Biden Administration to make this announcement effective immediately, through a press release, actively prevents states and health care providers from making real-time operational decisions that save lives.
DeSantis has battled Biden over this issue for months, as the Biden administration kicked off the battle by announcing they would withhold treatment from certain states, citing the need for “equitable distribution.” While DeSantis went around the administration and purchased monoclonal antibody treatments, circumventing the federal restriction, the Biden administration eventually “cornered the entire market” for the treatments.
Earlier this month, DeSantis announced that the federal government decided to “reverse course” and send treatments to the state after Surgeon General Ladapo wrote a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. However, this week’s action by U.S. health regulators is continuing the fight.
Despite the fact that there are other variants out there in addition to omicron, the Biden White House is dismissing the governor’s concerns.
“Florida, let’s talk. It’s terrifying that local leaders refuse to promote a lifesaving booster shot but are trying to give citizens a drug that does not work,” Ben Wakana of the COVID-19 Response Team said on social media.
“This isn’t play doctor. It’s a real pandemic. Listen to the scientists. Stop playing politics with people’s lives”
Editor’s note: Florida’s vaccination rate is at 65%, on average with almost every state. Florida’s booster rate is 34% on par with NY state, which is 36%(LINK). Wakana is attacking Florida’s booster rate, which is not drastically lower than most states which are in the 30% to 40% area. Who really is playing politics?
However, DeSantis reminded officials this month that omicron is not the only variant out there, and he noted that it has worked against the omicron variant in some cases.
“It’s something that we actually have seen applied with omicron patients and we have seen symptoms resolved, so it’s not clear that this is not something that is going to not be a benefit,” DeSantis explained.
“It may not be as good as it was against delta, but we obviously want to have that here for patients to be able to do it,” he added.
Notably, in September, DeSantis’s team revealed that more than half of those seeking the lifesaving monoclonal antibody treatment were considered fully vaccinated.