Rep. Scott DesJarlais Expresses Concern Over HHS Policy Change in Monoclonal Antibody Therapies
(MURFREESBORO, TN) –Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) authored a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra expressing concerns over the distribution of monoclonal antibody therapies.
The Department of Health and Human Services made changes to the policy just days after President Biden announced multiple executive orders for vaccination mandates.
Representative DesJarlais writes in the letter, “As you are aware, this lifesaving COVID-19 treatment, which was granted Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has been shown to significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths among coronavirus patients. The antibodies mimic the body’s immune response, and treatment is most effective within 10 days of symptom onset. If treated within that time frame, studies have indicated the treatment to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 70%.”
DesJarlais made it clear to Secretary Becerra that while he is grateful for President Trump’s successful execution of Operation Warp Speed to expedite the creation and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, that Tennesseans cannot be completely reliant on the vaccine.
He wrote, “(…) many Tennesseans have undoubtedly avoided severe illness by utilizing treatment options such as monoclonal antibodies. Only an individual and their physician can decide the best course of action.”
The Tennessee congressman posed the following questions to Becerra and requested a response by Friday, September 17, 2021:
1. Reports indicate that there is currently not a supply shortage of treatments, so why is the agency limiting supply? Can HHS provide transparency into what the actual problem is?
2. What is the department’s plan for ensuring that treatments are available to those who need it?
3. What is the current allocation process and what will it look like going forward? How is the allocation process being determined?
4. Does HHS have a policy for distribution of monoclonal antibodies based on a criteria of patient symptoms?
Rep. Diana Harshbarger, Rep. Tim Burchett, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Rep. John Rose Rep. Mark Green, and Rep. David Kustoff signed on to Rep. DesJarlais’ letter.
Congressman DesJarlais’ full letter to Secretary Becerra can be found here.