Florida surgeon general Joseph Ladapo claimed Tuesday that the Biden administration has been intentionally inhibiting the circulation of Covid-19 therapeutics, which is undermining Florida’s strategy to tackle the disease.
The federal government is “actively preventing the effective distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments,” he wrote in a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra.
The Biden administration reportedly suspended shipments of Covid-19 antibody treatments, which can shorten severity and duration of illness in those infected by the virus, produced by major drug companies Regeneron and Eli Lilly amid growing evidence that they don’t target the Omicron variant sweeping the nation. Months ago, Governor Ron DeSantis launched dozens of antibody-treatment sites across the state.
While Sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody from the company Glaxosmithkline, is still being distributed, as it’s still deemed effective against Omicron, Ladapo argued that “the federal agencies under your control should not limit our state’s access to any available treatments for Covid-19.”
He said HHS “announced a dramatic reduction in the number of monoclonal antibodies to be allocated to the State of Florida” without providing advanced notice and despite the state’s strong record of administering these life-saving therapeutics.
Ladapo invoked President Biden’s recent admission that the Covid-19 crisis does not have a federal solution but rather should be addressed at the state level. By this logic, he said, Florida should manage its Covid-19 cases without federal interference, and by offering an abundance of antibody-treatment choices for patients.
“I respectfully request that you allow states and healthcare practitioners to provide treatment options that best benefit the communities they know and serve,” he said.
While Omicron accounts for the vast majority of cases in the U.S., CDC Director Rochelle Walensky clarified in an appearance on CNN Wednesday that the percentage varies among cities and localities. The Delta surge in Florida subsided over the last couple of months, but many cases remain, and Omicron has yet to proliferate in some areas. In a state like Florida with such a large elderly population, existing Delta cases may still be best treated with earlier versions of antibody infusions.