Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX) is demanding answers from the Biden administration as to why residents of Texas — and across the United States — are unable to receive the potentially life-saving monoclonal antibodies (mAb). Roy sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Thursday, demanding that the Biden administration do everything possible to increase manufacturing of the antibodies and answer why there is a shortage of supply in the first place.
After noting that COVID-19 cases are increasing across the country with the dominant strain being the Omicron variant. Roy observed that only one monoclonal antibody, Sotrovimab, “appears to be working” for patients with that strain.
He also noted that “in Texas, including in Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and the Houston area, sites have completely run out of Sotrovimab and have no choice but to wait without recourse because your Department has taken full control of the supply chain.”
“In Texas … sites have completely run out of Sotrovimab and have no choice but to wait without recourse because [HHS] has taken full control of the supply chain.”
Yet the Biden admin has refused to be transparent about its monoclonal antibody rationing.
It’s time for ANSWERS! pic.twitter.com/kh78WyQWfy
— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) December 30, 2021
Research on monoclonal antibodies was largely spearheaded by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) as a viable therapeutic for COVID-19. Yet, in September, the federal government took over monoclonal antibody distribution and restricted the ability for individual states to purchase the treatment in an attempt to supposedly help increase access to such treatments across the country.
But, it would appear that decision had the opposite effect.
On Tuesday, Florida’s Surgeon General Joseph A. Lapido charged that the “federal government is actively preventing the effective distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments in the U.S.”
Roy has been making similar observations since September. His letter Thursday comes after the Texas congressman has been demanding answers from the Biden administration for months. Roy has three questions that he says “should not be hard” for HHS to answer:
My recurring inquiries as discussed in multiple letters and reiterated over a bicameral congressional briefing led by your Department on September 17, 2021 have been focused on a few main questions: 1) Is there, or has there ever been a shortage of any monoclonal antibody treatments in the U.S.? If so, which treatments? 2) Is there an expected shortage of any monoclonal antibody treatment in the U.S; and If so, which treatments? 3) What is the U.S.’s manufacturing capacity for monoclonal antibody treatments?
Roy also added that the Biden administration’s decision “caused immediate disruptions” to mAb access and that those “disruptions have only gotten worse as COVID-19 has continued to circulate through our communities.”
“The fallout of these decisions could prove fatal,” he warned. “This, while your Department has not even at a minimum been transparent about the manufacturing capabilities and supply levels of various mAb treatments whilst denying commercial purchase to block separate recourse to a life-or-death situation. “
On Twitter, Roy’s communications Director Nate Madden emphasized that the “bottom line” was that people in Texas are “being denied COVID treatment because the Biden administration is interfering with the monoclonal supply while pushing an unconstitutional vaccine mandate.”
Not only is the Biden administration restricting mAbs, they are still pushing a federal vaccine mandate through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for private employers with more than 100 employees. That mandate is being challenged in court by several companies, including The Daily Wire who is acting as the lead plaintiff on a lawsuit that will be heard before the Supreme Court of the United States.
At the state level, DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christina Pushaw agreed with Madden and blamed the Biden administration for failing to prepare.
“Same in Florida and many other states,” Pushaw responded to Madden. “It’s unconscionable, we warned the Biden Administration about the winter surge for months and urged the federal government to ramp up supplies of MAB treatment as promised. They failed to listen.”
Same in Florida and many other states. It’s unconscionable, we warned the Biden Administration about the winter surge for months and urged the federal government to ramp up supplies of MAB treatment as promised. They failed to listen. https://t.co/oWkNgKKzzs
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 (@ChristinaPushaw) December 30, 2021
Roy ultimately told HHS it was essential for them to “releases restrictions to purchasing mAb treatments for all variants and immediately answers the questions asked in this letter as well as the questions previously asked.”
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