Ag commissioner, Nikki Fried, joins Ron DeSantis’ fight to preserve antibody treatments

Ag commissioner, Nikki Fried, joins Ron DeSantis’ fight to preserve antibody treatments


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  • Screenshot via Nikki Fried/Twitter

A day after Governor Ron DeSantis vowed to “fight like hell” to preserve Florida’s supply of monoclonal antibody treatments for people with COVID-19, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried asked President Joe Biden to delay changing Florida’s allocation for treatments.

Fried, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in 2022, has asked for planned changes to the national distribution of antibody drugs to be delayed until the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida is “reduced.”

“While federal health officials have set Florida’s allocation to treatment doses at 30,950, I am concerned that more residents may need to benefit from this treatment than the available doses, given our state’s long delays in implementing this treatment,” Fried, Florida’s only Democrat-elect state, he wrote in a letter to the White House on Friday. “While we certainly understand the frustration with the unfair distribution of this treatment to a small number of states, I would respectfully request an extension of time before changing current dose allocations, giving our state time to reduce COVID-19 cases further from its recent peaks.”

A picture spreads showing a woman lying on the floor of a Florida clinic for COVID-19 antibodies goes viral

A picture has gone viral of a woman lying on the floor while waiting for treatment with COVID-19 antibodies.

A picture spreads showing a woman lying on the floor of a Florida clinic for COVID-19 antibodies goes viral

Written by Alex Galbraith

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A few states, including Florida, have had the bulk of the monoclonal antibody treatments available to date, according to White House officials. But the US Department of Health and Human Services allocates a weekly breakdown “based on weekly reports of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as well as data on stocks and usage” that states have provided to the federal government, agency officials said this week. Florida will culminate this week in receiving 27,850 doses of the monoclonal antibody treatment Regeneron and 3,100 doses of therapies developed by drug company Eli Lilly, according to federal health officials. The allocation of treatments in Florida accounts for the largest share of any state.

DeSantis, who regularly engages with the Biden administration on COVID-19 mitigation strategies, said Thursday that the federal government is placing “obstacles” on the state receiving the drugs, which the governor has called an effective early treatment to combat the virus, and vowed to “fight like hell to make sure that Our people are getting what they need.”

Biden’s plan to combat COVID-19 promises in part to increase the average weekly frequency of shipments of monoclonal antibody treatments another 50% in September. Fried’s letter to the White House on Friday also sharply criticized her political rival, saying that Florida residents “have been victims of pandemic mismanagement and disinformation by the DeSantis administration.”

According to the Florida Department of Health, 51,240 Florida residents have died from COVID-19 since the virus emerged last year.


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