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MIAMI, FL – Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has called out the Biden administration for playing politics with his state’s ability to get enough monoclonal antibody treatment products to keep state-run treatment clinics operating.
“This reeks of politics,” Rubio Tweeted on September 16 “This is the Biden administration punishing Florida and saying to Florida and states like Florida ‘Oh yeah? You’re not going to have mandates? You’re not going to do what we want you to do? Well then guess what, we’re going to cut of your antibody treatments and your access to them.’”
Monoclonal antibody treatments are antibody cocktails that, if administered shortly after a COVID-19 diagnosis, boost the immune system to battle the virus. The treatments are available free of charge and without a doctor’s order to anyone age 12 or older who is at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
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Treatment drugs (mAb) are available through the federal government to state departments of health nationwide. Currently there are 25 state-run free clinic sites that offer the treatments in Florida.
That state was among seven Southern states including Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas, that are responsible for 70 percent of orders for antibody treatment products in September so far. Of those states only Louisiana has a Democrat in the state’s corner office.
On September 14, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that the agency would ration mAb drugs more equitably in order to avoid a possible future shortage of the drugs.
On September 16 Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the HHS announced that the number of treatment product doses available to Florida would be cut in half.
Rubio said the cuts are the result of his state’s resistance to federal mandates proposed by Biden.
“Well, now the Biden administration – because they don’t like the way Florida is handling vaccines and not forcing people to do it – and states like Florida as well (have) decided that they’re going to ration the antibody treatments,” Rubio said in his Tweet.
On September 17 Rubio and the entire Florida delegation to Congress including Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Scott Franklin (R-FL), and Neal Dunn (R-FL). formally asked Becerra to reverse the decision to “ration” the drugs.
“This decision was made without providing the Florida Department of Health or healthcare providers any time to prepare for this dramatic shift,” the lawmakers wrote. “We urge HHS to immediately reverse course on this decision.”
In the meantime, DeSantis said that he would do whatever is necessary to make monoclonal antibody treatments available in Florida.