US Rep Bishop fires off letter over national monoclonal antibody supply

Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., speaks during a news conference held by the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

RALEIGH — North Carolina Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (NC-09) has sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra inquiring about the Biden administration’s actions related to monoclonal antibody treatments. 

The letter, obtained by North State Journal, cites Becerra’s agency changing the distribution process for the antibody treatments on Sept. 13, 2021.  

“Foremost among the changes, treatment administration sites could no longer order supplies of monoclonal antibodies directly from the supplier,” Bishop wrote. “Additionally, HHS cemented its complete control over distribution, dictating how many units of monoclonal antibodies would be appropriate for each state. This model essentially created a Soviet-style health care rationing where states and regions with higher level of COVID transmission were left waiting for federal action.” 

Bishop went on to write that he has learned from healthcare professionals at the Scotland Health Care System in Laurinburg are “desperate” to obtain more of the antibody treatments and are being forced to ration supplies among their patients.  

“It is unthinkable that American lives are at risk because the federal government is withholding desperately-needed treatments,” wrote Bishop. “As HHS is currently controlling all modes of monoclonal antibody distribution to American medical providers, it is incumbent upon your agency to procure and distribute sufficient amounts of these important treatments to meet Americans’ needs.” 

Bishop went on to say that medical providers in the United States should not be forces to ration care just because the federal government has taken over the process. He also included two questions for Becerra, one of which asked what steps he and his agency are taking to obtain and distribute more doses to meet demand. 

The other question asked the HHS secretary if he was considering lettering medical providers order the treatments directly or allow those providers to demonstrate need for more doses. 

There have been increasing complaints from numerous states that Biden administration has severely cut off their supply of monoclonal antibody treatments. Providers around North Carolina, including the one mentioned by Bishop, have made similar complaints.  

During a Jan. 4 COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Roy Cooper was asked questions about the state’s supply of monoclonal antibody treatments which he remarked are “in very limited supply.” 

In previous briefings during late summer and even into fall of 2021, Cooper had indicated that the state’s supply of monoclonal antibody treatments was ample.  

At that same Jan. 4 briefing, interim N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley also referenced limited treatment supplies. 

“Because supply is limited per federal guidance, treatments will be used for those at highest risk of severe disease,” said Kinsley. He added the best treatment is “prevention” and urged the public to get vaccinated or boosted right away. 

About A.P. Dillon 560 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_