Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and six other Republican senators have introduced the Treatment Restoration for Emergency Antibody Therapeutics (TREAT) Act, which would prohibit obstacles to hospitals buying monoclonal antibody supplies directly.
These senators say the federal government should not decide which states can access Regeneron treatment supplies.
If passed, the TREAT Act would stop the Department of Health and Human Services from restricting hospitals and other facilities from ordering monoclonal antibody treatments directly from manufacturers to meet local demand.
GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other governors have promoted early treatment with Regeneron for those dianosed with COVID-19. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden's administration began rationing monoclonal antibody supplies, cutting shipments to Florida in half.
"This abrupt change in policy from the Biden administration is nothing but an attempt to punish Florida," Rubio said. "We cannot let vindictive, politically motivated actions by this administration jeopardize the health and safety of Floridians and others. My bill would bring back fairness by allowing hospitals and other appropriate healthcare facilities to directly access this life-saving treatment from manufacturers."
In addition to Rubio and Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, the senators introducing the bill are Roger Marshall of Kansas, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.
"The Biden Administration’s rule is misguided and threatens the efforts of providers seeking to administer this life-saving COVID-19 treatment to patients who need it most," Marshall said. "Rather than forcing states to create a distribution network that will cause unnecessary bureaucratic delays, we should leverage industry’s well-established networks through public-private partnerships that will ensure all patients have timely access to care."
Cramer added: "The Biden administration is changing how COVID-19 antibody treatments are distributed to states in a way that does not reflect actual need across the country. Our bill would prohibit the implementation of these policies that would restrict hospitals and other providers from receiving life-saving treatments where the need is greatest, regardless of partisan politics."
The White House has denied any political motivation behind its distribution plan.
"We are increasing our distribution this month by 50%," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a Sept. 15 press briefing. "In early August, we were distributing an average of 100,000 doses per week. Now we’re shipping an average of 150,000 doses per week … But over the last month, given the rise in cases due to the delta variant and the lower number of vaccination rates in some of these states — like Florida, like Texas — just seven states are making up 70% of the orders."
The DeSantis administration in Florida this week purchased 3,000 doses of GlaxoSmithKline’s monoclonal antibody treatment after the Biden administration reduced the federal supply of Regeneron’s version. DeSantis said Monday the reduction in supply may result in the closure of some pop-up sites in the state where patients can access the treatments, floridapolitics.com reported.