Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) led a 55-member letter Thursday, which included House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), calling for the Joe Biden administration to stop cutting off coronavirus antibody treatments to states led by Republican governors, Breitbart News has learned exclusively.
The Biden administration announced last week that they would limit states’ abilities to access coronavirus antibody treatments; Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, all red states, used 70 percent of all antibody treatment in those seven states.
Biden’s curtailing of transition monoclonal antibodies (mAb) caused an uproar from Republicans across the spectrum.
DesJarlais, a member of the House Republican Doctors Caucus and the Republican Study Committee (RSC), led a 55-member letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra demanding to know why the Biden administration moved to discriminate against Republican states.
“This letter is to put HHS on notice that this policy change has the potential to prevent countless of Americans from receiving the lifesaving monoclonal antibody treatment,” DesJarlais said in an exclusive statement to Breitbart News. “My question is, if the seven states targeted included California, New York, and Delaware, would there have been a policy change? These states fell victim to the Biden administration’s callous attitude towards the deaths of Americans living in Red states.”
He added, “There is currently no shortage. The Washington swamp has done what it does best; create a solution for a problem that does not exist. The previous statement allowed doctors to make decisions best for their patients, not bureaucrats.”
A senior House Republican aide told Breitbart News, “Democrats are literally playing politics with people’s lives — the very thing they always accuse Republicans of doing. They are restricting access to a lifesaving drug just because it’s been embraced in Republican-led states, and one of those governors is a 2024 favorite.”
DesJarlais and his Republican colleagues said that the change in the Biden administration’s distribution of monoclonal antibodies could lead to the unnecessary loss of life:
This change in distribution threatens to reduce or delay access to this life saving therapy for the patients who need it most. Additionally, a slight delay in administration of this therapy could be fatal. As you know, providers and health systems are already required to report mAb distribution data to HHS. The federal government should not hinder the efforts of providers seeking to procure and administer this product. Disallowing direct supply of mAb while a new distribution system is being developed will cause further delays.
Other prominent signers of the letter include House Republican Conference chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA).
The House Republicans said that monoclonal antibodies remain a crucial tool for the coronavirus pandemic as the country experiences more breakthrough cases and new variants of the coronavirus:
We are very concerned with this sudden change, which further emphasizes the urgent need for investment from this Administration in COVID-19 therapeutics. As we have seen from breakthrough cases, we know that vaccinated people can contract COVID-19. New variants of the COVID-19 virus are expected to occur, as is seen across different viruses. In order for the United States to remain resilient against COVID-19 in the face of novel variants and uncertainty regarding length of immunity from vaccination, we must deploy every available means to combat the disease and prevent hospitalizations and deaths. The development of new COVID-19 therapeutics, as well as a predictable supply of currently available treatments such as mAb, are key as the country continues to respond to the public health emergency.
“Therapeutics remain a crucial weapon in our fight against this virus, and this order threatens our constituents’ access to some of the most effective available options. Accordingly, we strongly urge you to reconsider the order,” the lawmakers concluded in their letter to the Biden administration.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.