Gov. DeSantis demands Joe Biden administration restore monoclonal antibody supply
Ron DeSantis takes a question from press. Image via Colin Hackley.

FLAPOL020221CH05
The federal government is cutting off the antibody supply but is providing a COVID-19 pill.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is condemning President Joe Biden’s administration for cutting off the federal supply of monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now revoked its emergency use authorization for monoclonal antibody therapies created by Regeneron and Eli Lilly, calling it unlikely the drugs could treat the omicron variant of COVID-19. The decision marked the second time in as many months the federal government has halted the supply of the drug, again drawing criticism from Florida’s Republican Governor.

“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 statement late Monday. “This indefensible edict takes treatment out of the hands of medical professionals and will cost some Americans their lives. 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 opened additional monoclonal antibody treatment sites last week after receiving shipments of the drug that had previously proven effective against treating COVID-19. But following the federal government’s reversal on Monday, the Florida Department of Health (DOH), led by Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, announced all state-run monoclonal antibody sites would be closed until further notice.

More than 2,000 treatment appointments scheduled for Tuesday have been canceled, according to DOH. The decision came without advance warning to states or health providers, they continued.

“In our field of medicine, when someone comes to you seeking a treatment that could save their life, it is essential to have treatment options to ensure health care providers can make the best decisions for their patients,” Ladapo said in a statement. “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.’”

Following news the federal government was again halting the two monoclonal antibody treatments, Florida Department of Health Deputy Secretary Kenneth Scheppke wrote a letter complaining to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), telling them that coordinating treatment requires continued planning and focus.

“Patients and health care practitioners deserve to make the best treatment choices regarding individual cases,” Scheppke said. “Sweeping decisions at the federal level are continuing to be made based on rapidly evolving science and continues to limit treatment options. This interferes directly with health care practitioners’ ability to make the best decisions for their patients.”

HHS spokesman Ian Sams tweeted that the department this week is providing more than 34,000 treatments to Florida that “actually do work,” adding emphasis to those words. Those treatments include 21,080 doses of the molnupiravir pill produced by Merck.

“Why is Gov. DeSantis more interested in promoting medicines that don’t work than urging people to take vaccines that do?” he wrote in another tweet.

DOH spokesman Jeremy Redfern repeatedly tweeted back at Sams, requesting that he share clinical data regarding molnupiravir.

The federal government had also previously rationed the monoclonal antibody supply, drawing criticism from DeSantis. Speaking in Jacksonville Monday, before the FDA’s decision, the Governor said the federal government had been messing with the drug’s supply for months.

“They’ve always been playing games on this,” DeSantis told reporters.

The omicron variant has appeared to withstand Regeneron’s casirivimab and imdevimab combo and Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab and etesevimab combo, according to the Health Alert Network and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lab tests have shown molnupiravir is effective against omicron while Regeneron’s and Eli Lilly’s therapies have underperformed.

Florida House Minority Leader Evan Jenne on Monday compared DeSantis’ focus on monoclonal antibody therapies to the state’s prior focus on hydroxychloroquine, which DeSantis promoted as an effective treatment in 2020. Hydroxychloroquine proved to be “snake oil,” the Dania Beach Democrat told reporters as he bashed the Governor’s continued belief in monoclonal antibody therapy.

“It’s an unfortunate waste of taxpayer monies, but at the same time, we do want everybody to have treatments that will work,” Jenne said. “It’s just that this doesn’t work.”

Rep. Fentrice Driskell, a Tampa Democrat and the House Democrats’ Policy Chair, similarly called monoclonal antibody expenditures unnecessary because she said the treatment is ineffective.

“Sometimes information changes from day to day in a public health emergency,” Driskell said. “That’s the nature of an emergency.”

Officials confirmed 228,226 new cases in the seven-day period leading up to Sunday, the most recent day with available COVID-19 data. That was down from 361,937cases reported during the seven days prior. In total, there have been 5.3 million COVID-19 cases in Florida throughout the pandemic.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


20 comments

  • Antonio

    January 25, 2022 at 11:02 am

    The strange thing about all this has been the attempts to suppress alternative treatment. The fact that the vaccine is pushed as the only acceptable solution is why many question it.

  • PeterH

    January 25, 2022 at 11:51 am

    Federal Government SHOULD NOT be procuring or furnishing treatments that have a proven track failure for failure.

    • Antonio

      January 25, 2022 at 12:10 pm

      “a proven track failure for failure” The people whose lives have been saved MA highly disagree with you.

      And it’s beside the point. Why is the vaccine the only acceptable solution? Why are they pushing so hard against any other mitigating solutions when the vaccines clearly don’t prevent spread? Aren’t you curious?

      • Darl

        January 25, 2022 at 12:18 pm

        Guess what, there is a proven effective treatment for COVID that is still widely available: the vaccines! Why anyone would trust Regeneron over Pfizer beats me..

        • Robin

          January 30, 2022 at 8:07 pm

          🤣🤣🤣

      • Tjb

        January 25, 2022 at 1:58 pm

        Yes it did work on the previous version of Covid. With the new variant it does not work and it is super expensive. Why waste the money when 99% of the new Covid cases are with the new variant? Get the vaccinations, it may not prevent Covid, but if you do get Covid, it is usually a mild case and there are more effective treatments than monoclonal antibodies.

        • Tom

          January 26, 2022 at 10:39 am

          You Tjb and the rest of your hateful Manchurian nation would never admit on the front end what a brilliant move by America’s Gov to offer monoclonal Regeneron. He set those sites up within 10 plus days around the state. Personally visiting most, if not all. Biden and staff didn’t even know bout monos or say anything til over a month later.

          The ugly smear that he profited is manure in which all you Manchurians live off of. That was fully debunked by multiple quarters.

          Gov Ron is the whiz kid Gov. He is mission, task oriented and is the future of the GOP. He is speaking at CPAC in February/Orlando. He will lay out Florida’s future as a conservative leader and America’s Gov, which will be what’s good for Florida is good for America.

          Dems are set for a shellacking of mass ass proportion! 40 to 60 House seats and 6 plus Senate seats. Biden’s negative in 46 states. Some blue. In Florida he’s negative 38%. This only ensures Gov Ron’s re-elect. Stupid WH has made him a rock star leader! Enjoy.

        • JoAnn

          January 27, 2022 at 8:55 am

          I was down and out with covid. Received monoclonal antibiotics on last Thursday by Saturday I was back up with strength. It is appalling that treatments that work are being stopped. My opinion Biden and his cronies make money off the so called vaccines. If they were truly vaccines people who get them wouldn’t be getting covid.
          They are NOT vaccines.
          Sad world we now live in.

      • PeterH

        January 25, 2022 at 3:38 pm

        NO ONE WITH OMICRON HAS BEEN “SAVED” with two of the three infusion cocktails. Two of the treatments don’t work. If DeSantis wants to politicize this FACT he is free to do so. Let Florida’s taxpayers continue with paying for Regeneron. Not a single USA governor has received cash kickbacks from Regeneron except DeSantis. Today’s Republican Party are a bunch of grifters.

        • Antonio

          January 25, 2022 at 6:59 pm

          The treatment works. The antibodies have been as helpful as the vaccines, so why the outrage against it’s use or any other alternative? Why is the vaccine being pushed as the ONLY acceptable solution? It seems no one can ever answer that…

      • Keith

        January 26, 2022 at 6:10 pm

        I think you should be curious to know why Florida is in the bottom of health care rankings in the nation and has been for decades.

  • Rick

    January 25, 2022 at 2:38 pm

    It seems the governor will happily twist himself into a pretzel as long as it juxtaposes him as Biden’s political foil ahead of a 2024 presidential bid.

    The fact that these monoclonal antibodies aren’t effective for Omicron don’t give him pause. There is also the fact that he and his quack surgeon general downplay and even dissuade Floridians from getting vaccinated or wearing masks (which do work to lessen the incidence of serious illness and death). This virus has killed more than 64,000 Floridians on DeSantis’ watch. I wish this story had mentioned that.

  • rob

    January 25, 2022 at 3:29 pm

    To the idiots in the comments. I know a vaccinated person who used this treatment just last week. Dems just want people to suffer and die it seems.

    • Don’t Look Up

      January 25, 2022 at 3:31 pm

      We’re all certain you know “someone!”

      LOL

      • Tom

        January 26, 2022 at 12:24 pm

        Yeah the likes of peter h, don’t look up, Alex, kwkross, rob, tjb, wanda, ocean Joe, so many other Manchurians.
        You puds can’t touch America’s Gov., who you got? Fraud? Crispy ? Tarantula. Please.

      • Tom

        January 26, 2022 at 12:32 pm

        Yes, so many Manchurians to name and select from don’t look up, just look through your ass. You, Rob, Peter h, Alex, tjb, Palmer and so many more.
        Wah, Wah manchurians.

  • KwkRoss

    January 25, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    Gov.DeathSantis needs to be investigated for kickbacks .. There is no Covid-19.. It is a Hoax.. As per DeathSantis, No need to wear mask , Social Distancing or those Vaccines.. Why should Federal Tax Dollars should be spent on some monoclonal antibody treatment? Why should rest of the country pay for this ? Why do you need treatment for a Hoax?

  • Tom

    January 26, 2022 at 3:34 am

    Haters just going to hate. Usual haters, peter h, kwkross, darl, tjb, others.
    No facts, just anything they can do to hurt others to prove they must have there way.
    Vax and boosted still may get omicron.
    Btw, still No approved FDA commish still.
    So everyone but the FDA makes policy.

  • politics

    January 26, 2022 at 4:28 pm

    It looks like a wild life kick in the ass to me.

  • Joan Pfeiffer

    January 30, 2022 at 6:37 pm

    The mRNA is not a vaccine! The shot does not stop COVID no matter how many “boosters” you get! The ones who died were in the hospital! Did you see anyone in the streets dying? You won’t! Have you seen the homeless dying in the streets with Covid? You won’t! It is 99% curable unless you go into the hospital. Are the immigrants infiltrating our country vaccinated? No! Wake up! It is all about control! Not by your governor, but by the New World Order! Wake up! Read the Bill of Rights! You are losing your rights through unlawful “mandates”! Wake up American Citizens!

Comments are closed.


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