10.18.2021 0

ALG leads fight to protect patients’ access to lifesaving COVID meds

We are urging House Members to cosponsor legislation that would stop Joe Biden from rationing access to monoclonal antibodies COVID treatments.

By Catherine Mortensen

Americans for Limited Government (ALG) last week sent a letter to House Members urging them to support critical legislation that would prevent President Joe Biden from rationing lifesaving monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID patients.

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“The Biden administration’s job is to facilitate access and distribution of medical and pharmaceutical supplies, amid the COVID pandemic, whether its drugs, tests, ventilators, masks, or anything else, and not to restrict access, endangering patients’ lives, who now might not get the treatment they need,” wrote ALG Vice President of Public Policy Robert Romano.

Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.) this week is expected to introduce a House companion bill to Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.)Treatment Restoration for Emergency Antibody Therapeutics (TREAT) Act. This legislation would prohibit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from implementing policies that restrict hospitals and other appropriate healthcare facilities from ordering and receiving COVID-19 monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatments directly from manufacturers and distributors. This legislation would nullify the Biden Administration’s recent policy requiring hospitals and other facilities to work through states to receive monoclonal antibody supplies as well as cease the administration’s ability to throttle the state’s supply of this life-saving treatment.

On September 17, Rubio led Republican members of the Florida congressional delegation in urging HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to reverse course on the department’s sudden change in policy, which is causing the State of Florida to face a severe deficit of doses.

“This abrupt change in policy from the Biden Administration is nothing but an attempt to punish Florida. We cannot let vindictive, politically motivated actions by this Administration jeopardize the health and safety of Floridians and others,” Rubio said. “My bill would bring back fairness by allowing hospitals and other appropriate healthcare facilities to directly access this life-saving treatment from manufacturers.”

In a video he posted to Twitter, Sen. Rubio said he knows a lot of people who received the antibody treatment- some after receiving the Covid vaccine- and that it kept them out of the hospital and potentially saved their lives. He goes on to say “they’re going to start rationing it. There’s not a shortage. There isn’t some crisis, but they’ve decided they’re going to start rationing it. This reeks of politics.” Rationing supply when supply is adequate does reek of politics.

Rubio acted by leading the Florida congressional delegation to urge HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to abandon this punitive policy. “State Departments of Health cannot develop procedures or plan for problems they are not aware of. 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. 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” reads the letter.

Catherine Mortensen is Vice President of Communications for American for Limited Government.

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