Ted Cruz introduces legislation to allow states to purchase monoclonal antibodies

Florida surgeon general calls out ‘terrible decision’ to pause shipments of antibody treatments

Dr. Joseph Ladapo gives his take on the White House announcing they will pause shipments of antibody treatments on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas has introduced legislation to remove federal barriers to states purchasing coronavirus treatments amid concerns that his state and others are approaching government-induced shortages.

“For months, many of us have been sounding the alarm over the Biden administration’s federal takeover of monoclonal antibody treatment distribution,” Cruz said in a Wednesday statement to Fox News Digital. 

“The bill I’ve introduced would empower states to determine their own needs, so those now facing critical shortages because of the Biden administration’s misguided policy can ensure their citizens are able to get the care they need. President Biden has finally admitted that states, not the federal government, are the answer in situations like this and my bill is a great first step in that direction.”

Sen. Ted Cruz speaks during a Senate Rules and Administration Committee oversight hearing on Jan. 5, 2022, in Washington. (Elizabeth Frantz-Pool/Getty Images)

Introduced on Tuesday, the bill amends the Defense Production Act of 1950 and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to protect states’ authority. It also allows states to direct federal funds toward “supplies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic that the State, territory, or possession was unable to purchase before the date of the enactment of this Act because of the invocation by the President of … the Defense Production Act of 1950.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference in November 2021. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Cruz’s legislation adds to the mounting opposition Republicans have expressed toward the federal government’s September decision to control distribution of monoclonal antibody therapeutics. 

An administration official previously portrayed the decision as a way to “help maintain equitable distribution, both geographically and temporally, across the country – providing states and territories with consistent, fairly-distributed supply over the coming weeks.”

But politicians from states like Florida have criticized the effectiveness of this approach. 

On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference in which he called on the administration to allow direct purchases by states. Last week, his surgeon general told the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that it was “actively preventing the effective distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments in the U.S.”

A health care worker attaches an IV infusion to a patient’s hand during a monoclonal antibody treatment in the parking lot atof a health center in Detroit, Michigan, on Dec. 23, 2021. (Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In Texas, the state’s health department said multiple locations had “exhausted” their supplies of monoclonal antibodies. 

“The federal government controls the distribution of monoclonal antibodies, and the regional infusion centers in Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, San Antonio and The Woodlands have exhausted their supply of sotrovimab, the monoclonal antibody effective against the COVID-19 omicron variant, due to the national shortage from the federal government,” a Dec. 27 statement read. 

“They will not be able to offer it until federal authorities ship additional courses of sotrovimab to Texas in January.”

Last week, HHS touted the administration’s progress in bringing two new over-the-counter COVID-19 tests to market – which is part of a broader effort by the administration to increase access to testing.

Biden has come under fire for saying there was no federal solution to the pandemic despite pushing multiple initiatives from the executive branch. After that statement, the White House tweeted that the administration was providing medical personnel, supplies and other assistance to states.

In December, the White House touted its deployment of federal personnel to help dozens of states.

“As we face the potential of a new variant and rising cases during the winter months, today, the president will make clear that federal government will once again be prepared to help,” the White House said on Dec. 2.

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