The actions that the Biden administration just took to restrict monoclonal antibody treatments are going to get people killed, says a medical director in Maryland.
As we noted yesterday, the CDC made a rather large mistake when they claimed that more than 73 percent of the cases of COVID in the nation were Omicron cases in the week ending Dec. 18. The number was only 22.5 percent of the cases at that point.
Why was that important? Because then the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response halted the allocation of two antibody treatments made by Regeneron and Eli Lilly because they claimed they weren’t effective against Omicron. According to Fox, however, the Delta variant was still responsible for most of the cases at the time.
Dr. Ron Elfenbein, the medical director and CEO of the First Call Medical Center in Gambrills, Maryland let loose, “I am as angry as I possibly can be about this.”
“The fact that these people are so adamant that they’re right when they’re using faulty data and they’re using faulty logic and frankly statistical modeling that has never been correct, ever, throughout this entire pandemic, to look at this, is just beyond the pale…. People are definitely going to die because of this or need hospitalization because [health officials] misread the statistics.”
When the federal government stopped the distribution, then Maryland notified doctors that they were directed to stop giving out the therapies.
“I don’t know how many people throughout the country are dead, dying, in the hospital, or about to be hospitalized because of the mistakes that they just made,” Dr. Elfenbein, who runs two monoclonal antibody clinics, said on Wednesday.
“It’s just the height of bureaucratic arrogance, and it’s just, it’s horrible. I had to turn friends away, family, people call me, ‘Oh, my uncle has cancer. Can he get an infusion?’ I’m like, ‘I cannot give you an infusion because I will lose my medical license.'”
I don’t know what kind of sense this makes because even if Omicron were more dominant at that point, why wouldn’t you want to distribute these treatments to the people they could still help? Even if there was just one person you could save, why would you not distribute it to that person? It seems like an insane bureaucratic decision.
In an update yesterday, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response said that they would still pause the two antibody treatments in question for states that had greater than 80 percent Omicron. So if you happened to be in a state like that but got Delta, too bad you’re out of luck. What kind of sense does this make? You would still potentially need it for up to 20 percent of the people. Talk about a ridiculous application of statistics. Why not still have it available on an as-needed basis? Or is that too logical? They’re saying that treatment sites can still use the treatment if they can distinguish between the variants, but then they’re not getting the allocation from the government.
At the week ending Dec. 25, the Omicron variant was responsible for about 59 percent of the cases, which still leaves Delta responsible for a lot of cases. So why would you not want to have all possibilities of treatment available?
But there’s another problem according to the Florida Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo. While Omicron is 59 percent of cases across the country, it’s at about 78 percent in the HHS area that includes Florida. But they are not distributing Sotrovimab — the monoclonal treatment which appears to be more effective against Omicron — to Florida. He blasted this policy in a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, saying this lack of allocation was causing “another immediate and life-threatening shortage of treatment options”
— Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD (@FLSurgeonGen) December 29, 2021
Ladapo said that federal agencies should not be limiting the state’s access to any available treatments.
“The federal government is actively preventing the effective distribution of monoclonal antibody treatments in the U.S. The sudden suspension of multiple monoclonal antibody therapy treatments from distribution to Florida removes a health care provider’s ability to decide the best treatment options for their patients in this state. This shortsightedness is especially evident given that the federal government effectively prohibited states from purchasing these monoclonal antibodies and serving their populations directly.
There may be “no federal solution” but there surely are ways that the federal government can make it worse and the Biden team seems to be doing everything they can to find those ways.