Alabama Officials Demand Answers on Biden Administration Withholding Lifesaving Coronavirus Treatment

U.S. President Joe Biden replaces his face mask following an Equal Pay Day event in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. Highlighting the gender pay gap, Equal Pay Day raises awareness that women in the United States earned $0.82 …
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Alabama Reps. Barry Moore (R-AL), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Mike Rogers (R-AL), and Gary Palmer (R-AL) are demanding answers from the Biden administration over its decision to effectively ration lifesaving coronavirus treatment– a move severely impacting southern states.

“We write today to convey Alabama’s concerns regarding the allocation of monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatments,” they wrote in an October 7 letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Citing the department’s decision to ration the treatment, which the administration attributed to concerns of “equitable distribution,” the lawmakers said it has “caused Alabama to experience a significant drop in the amount of mAb dose availability, thus unnecessarily putting lives at risk.”

The Associated Press

Angie Cleary, a registered nurse, cares for Joyce Johnson-Albert as she receives an antibody infusion while lying on a bed in a trauma room at the Upper Tanana Health Center Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, in Tok, Alaska. Johnson-Albert was optimistic but also realistic. “I just hope the next few days I’ll be getting a little better than now,” Johnson-Albert told a reporter on the other side of a closed, sliding glass door to the treatment room two days after testing positive for COVID-19 and while receiving an antibody infusion. “It’s just hard to say. You can go either way.” (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

“HHS will determine the amount of product each state and territory receives on a weekly basis,” a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said at the time.

“Further, it appears many healthcare providers and clinics have struggled with anticipating shipments, resulting in patients being unable to receive mAb therapy,” the lawmakers continued.

“We ask HHS to clarify if the allocation formula will reduce the number of mAb doses allocated to states based on a state’s ability to properly report to HHS how many mAb’s were used,” they continued.

“Furthermore, we request an explanation of why there has been such a lack of clarity by HHS on when treatments will become available,” they continued.

“Lastly, we request HHS to state whether the mAb distribution formula change will impact Alabama’s allocation and, if so, HHS’s estimate of how much Alabama’s allocation will go up, or down, based on the new mAb allocation formula,” they added.

In a statement, Rep. Brooks cited research showing monoclonal antibody therapy reducing the risk of hospitalization by 70 percent in high-risk unvaccinated individuals.
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 15: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-GA) speaks at a news conference on the “Fire Fauci Act” on Capitol Hill on June 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. The bill, drafted by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) , states that Dr. Anthony Fauci be removed from his position for allegedly deceiving the American people. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 15: Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) speaks at a news conference on the “Fire Fauci Act” on Capitol Hill on June 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. The bill, drafted by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), states that Dr. Anthony Fauci be removed from his position for allegedly deceiving the American people. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“But, the Biden Administration is throttling Alabama’s supply of mAb treatments according to the Alabama Department of Public Health,” Brooks said. “The signers of this letter want answers from the Biden Administration about why they’re reducing the number of lifesaving treatments available to Alabamians.”

The letter follows several Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Braun (R-ID), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), introducing the TREAT Act, which would “nullify the Biden Administration’s recent policy requiring hospitals and other facilities to work through states to receive mAb supplies as well as cease the administration’s ability to throttle the state’s supply of this lifesaving treatment.”

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