Florida lawmakers urge HHS to reverse decision on monoclonal antibody drug rationing

A group of lawmakers from Florida are encouraging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reverse its decision to ration monoclonal antibody (mAb) drugs for COVID-19 outpatient treatment.

The lawmakers said the HHS decision would result in Florida facing a deficit of doses. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) spearheaded a Florida congressional delegation in forwarding correspondence imploring HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to reverse course.

“This decision was made without providing the Florida Department of Health or healthcare providers anytime to prepare for this dramatic shift,” the lawmakers wrote to Becerra. “Prior to this week, health care providers were able to obtain mAb therapies directly from distributors. With no warning, that changed, leaving Florida providers scrambling for information and a path forward for previously scheduled appointments of this life-saving therapy.”

The letter was signed by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) along with Reps. 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).

The lawmakers indicated the State Departments of Health cannot develop procedures or plan for problems for which they are not aware.

“In the absence of clear, consistent communication, Florida and other states are now facing a situation where they have been denied the opportunity to develop an equitable, efficient state coordinated distribution system,” the lawmakers concluded. “At a time when Florida’s hospitalization rates are rapidly declining, in part because of the State’s successful mAb deployment infrastructure, this is a dangerous reversal of the Department’s stance.”

Douglas Clark

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