Florida could purchase monoclonal antibody treatments directly from GlaxoSmithKline, Gov. Ron DeSantis said, amid a dispute with the Biden administration over supplies of a similar drug from Regeneron.
DeSantis said Thursday that he had spoken with executives at GSK and that Florida “could potentially order” doses of the company’s monoclonal antibody. “We will do it if we can,” he added.
The state launched monoclonal antibody treatment centers and mobile units last month, as part of an effort to prevent people infected with the coronavirus from developing more severe symptoms requiring hospitalization.
The Department of Health and Human Services recently changed its distribution of monoclonal antibodies after Joe Biden pledged the federal government would increase overall shipments by 50%. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the government’s provision of Regeneron treatment “is not unlimited, and we believe it should be fair among states.”
Seven states, including Florida, accounted for 70% of orders, according to Psaki.
However, due to this change, shipments to Florida have fall at 30,950 treatments per week compared to 72,000, according to Christina Pushaw, spokesperson for DeSantis.
The governor, speaking at a Fort Lauderdale health center, said Florida could use its own potential supply of GSK’s monoclonal antibodies, called sotrovimab, to “fill the gaps.”
“We faced a major curve here with a really huge cut from the HHS and the Biden administration,” DeSantis said.
Data has shown that the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in Florida has declined in recent weeks, an encouraging sign following a summer wave of the virus attributed to the Delta variant. Officials said Thursday that the statewide tally of hospitalized Covid-19 patients had declined for 24 consecutive days.