Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday that the state of Florida purchased thousands of monoclonal antibody treatments directly from GlaxoSmithKline, a producer of the treatment.
The move by DeSantis bypasses a restriction placed by President Joe Biden’s administration, allowing the federal government to dictate allocations to each state and leave it to state leaders to ration it out among locations.
At the beginning of the month, the state was receiving approximately 30,000 doses. However, this week, Florida was only scheduled to get 18,000.
But, because of the move by DeSantis, the state will collect an additional 3,000 doses.
“We should be doing everything we can to get patients monoclonal antibody treatments, not cutting allocations of treatment like the Biden Administration has done,” said DeSantis. “Despite the cuts by the federal government, we want any Floridians that could benefit from this treatment to have access to it. Florida is going to leave no stone unturned when finding treatment for our state, and we are encouraged to have secured a shipment of monoclonal antibody treatments from GlaxoSmithKline.”
According to multiple studies, the treatment helps prevent hospitalization and severe illness when given to individuals in the early stages of COVID-19. DeSantis estimated that the treatment has prevented thousands of individuals from hospitalization.
“The monoclonal antibody program has really been a game changer here in the state of Florida,” said Dr. Larry Antonucci, CEO at Lee Health when discussing the move by DeSantis. “[Monoclonal antibody treatments are] making people better… It’s key to keeping them out of the hospital… I want to thank the Governor and his whole team for doing this.”
“[My whole household] received [monoclonal antibody treatments] and all came through just fine,” added Betsy Palmer Bigler, a former middle school math and science teacher, in a joint statement with DeSantis. “That’s the reason I wrote the Governor’s office with a lot of gratitude in my heart, because I sincerely feel that it saved probably one or all three of our lives, being able to have those [treatments.]”
The treatment, acquired by DeSantis, is similar to Regeneron, the specific brand of monoclonal antibody treatment that former President Trump received when testing positive for the coronavirus.
However, uniquely, in Regeneron’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), distribution of the drug is only available to the U.S. government.
“Distribution of the authorized casirivimab and imdevimab will be controlled by the United States (U.S.) Government for use consistent with the terms and conditions of this EUA,” reads the EUA document.
On the other hand, the EUA for GlaxoSmithKline does not grant the federal government the same privileges, allowing DeSantis to purchase the treatments directly from the company.
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