A Republican lawmaker is demanding to know why the Biden administration appears to be limiting the ability of doctors to order early treatment medications for COVID-19 patients.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) on Monday sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra inquiring about a recent change in HHS policy that limits orders and shipments of monoclonal antibody treatments to HHS-approved administration sites.
"As you know, antibody treatments such as bamlanivimab, bamlanivimab/etesevimab, and casirivimab/imdevimab were approved under Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) and have been shown to be effective in treating COVID-19 patients," Roy wrote to Becerra.
"Providers across the country, including providers in Texas, have utilized these treatments, aiding in effective treatment of COVID-19 patients. Unfortunately, numerous doctors and healthcare professionals who serve COVID-19 patients are reportedly being denied or limited orders for these treatments by HHS," he wrote.
Monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy is a treatment for COVID-19 that studies have shown is effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization and death for patients with mild to moderate illness who receive early treatment. The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization for mAb therapies to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and children older than 12, and the treatment has been promoted across the ideological spectrum by figures like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
On Sept. 3, HHS announced that because of a "substantial surge" in the demand for and use of mAb treatments, the federal government would make changes to "help promote optimal and equitable use of the available supply of monoclonal antibodies."
HHS acted to temporarily limit immediate orders and shipment of mAb treatments "only to administration sites with HHSProtect accounts and current utilization reporting." The agency also announced that it would review "all orders" by doctors for "alignment with utilization."
Roy wrote that these changes appear "appeared to have an immediate effect on the ability to expeditiously care for and treat COVID-19 patients."
Roy's letter asks the department to clarify whether there is a current or expected shortage of monoclonal antibody treatments in the U.S. Noting that HHS said the change was "temporary," Roy also asked, "When does HHS plan to revert to normal procedures for ordering these antibody treatments?"
In a statement to TheBlaze, Roy slammed the Biden administration for "impeding on providers' ability to best serve their patients."
"The last thing HHS should be doing is impeding on providers' ability to best serve their patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Roy. "This recent HHS order will further prevent doctors from being able to treat their patients and prevent their patients from receiving the care they need when they need it. The federal government should not be in the business of dictating healthcare; the American people deserve answers on why and under which authority HHS made this decision."
Read the letter: