Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference at the Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Sept. 16, 2021. (Wilfredo Lee/AP Photo)
Florida went to GlaxoSmithKline, which produces monoclonals that haven’t yet been bought up by the federal government. They reached an agreement on about 3,000 doses, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Sept. 23.
“That’s showing that we’re going to leave no stone unturned. And, if there’s somebody that needs a monoclonal antibody treatment, we’re going to work hard to get it to them,” the Republican told a press conference in Tampa.
The Biden administration seized control of monoclonals this month in response to what some officials have described as a national shortage. The federal government has bought millions of doses from Eli Lilly and Regeneron. The only other monoclonal authorized for use in the United States is produced by GlaxoSmithKline, or GSK.
A GSK spokesperson confirmed to The Epoch Times in an email that Florida obtained doses of its treatment, which is known as sotrovimab.
The doses were through AmerisourceBergen by CDR Health, the company stated. Any health care providers or facilities have an option of directly ordering the treatment.
The wholesale cost per dose is $2,100—roughly the same as its competitors were charging the government. Patients often pay much less, if anything.
Drug regulators in May authorized GSK’s treatment for mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in patients 12 and older and weighing at least 88 pounds.
Regulators and state officials say the drug and similar others help keep people out of hospitals.
DeSantis estimated thousands of Floridians have been able to avoid going to the hospital after getting COVID-19 or being exposed to a positive case because of the treatments.
But, like other states across the country, Florida is struggling with a looming shortage because of the Biden administration’s sudden rationing.
Florida announced last week it was in touch with GSK. Health officials in other states told The Epoch Times they’re not exploring buying their own treatments, with some suggesting that cost was a factor.
Earlier this month, sites in Florida were getting more than 30,000 doses. That doesn’t include hospitals. All sites could order directly however much they needed, and the federal government provides the doses for free. In the next weekly shipment, Florida was scheduled to receive less than 18,000, state officials say.
“I would hate to see somebody who really could benefit from this treatment not be able to have access to it. When we know that the track record has been very, very positive,” DeSantis said.
He hosted Floridians who credit monoclonal treatments for their recovery.
Betsy Palmer Bigler, a former teacher in Pascoe County, received Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment, as did her husband and her father after her husband tested positive for COVID-19.
“I certainly feel that it saved probably one or all three of our lives,” she said.