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Brooks, Moore Lead Letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Conveying Concerns about Alabama's Allocation of Monoclonal Antibody Treatments

October 8, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC— Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05), Congressman Barry Moore (AL-02), Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03), and Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-06) have sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra conveying concerns about the Biden Administration’s throttling of monoclonal antibody treatments available to Alabama. 

 

Click HERE to download the letter

 

Congressman Brooks said, “According to University of Alabama in Birmingham researchers, monoclonal antibody (“mAb”) therapy reduces risk of hospitalization by 70% in high-risk unvaccinated persons.[1] But, the Biden Administration is throttling Alabama’s supply of mAb treatments according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.[2] The signers of this letter want answers from the Biden Administration about why they’re reducing the number of lifesaving treatments available to Alabamians.”

 

“This allocation change to the supply of monoclonals in the midst of a public health emergency delayed potentially life-saving treatments to many Alabamians,” said Congressman Moore. ”The federal government implemented this change at a time when many Alabama hospitals were in the midst of a crisis from a rise in the delta variant. Adding even more government red tape to our hospitals at a time like this is inexcusable. This administration needs to stop playing politics when there are lives at stake.”

 

 

Full text of the letter follows:

 

October 7, 2021

 

The Honorable Xavier Becerra

Secretary

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20201

 

Secretary Becerra,

 

We write to convey Alabama’s concerns regarding allocation of monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatments. As you know, mAb therapy is a proven and effective COVID-19 treatment. As such, we are concerned with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decision to change America’s mAb allocations.

 

HHS announced a plan for a new ordering process in which states are allocated mAb treatments based largely on each state’s share of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Health care providers could no longer order mAb supplies directly from distributors and state health departments would order mAb supplies through HHS and then distribute mAb treatments to providers throughout the state. This change was done rapidly and with inadequate national input from states or healthcare providers, thus catching many healthcare providers off guard, especially in smaller clinics and more rural areas.

 

HHS’s change appears to have caused Alabama to experience a significant drop in mAb dose availability, thus unnecessarily putting lives at risk. Further, it appears many healthcare providers and clinics have struggled with anticipating shipments, resulting in patients being unable to receive the mAb therapy. 

 

We ask HHS to clarify if the allocation formula will reduce the number of mAb doses allocated to states based on a state’s ability to properly report to HHS how many mAb’s were used.

 

Lastly, we request an explanation of why there has been such a lack of clarity by HHS on when treatments will become available. 

 

Furthermore, we request HHS to state whether the mAb distribution formula change will impact Alabama’s allocation and, if so, HHS’s estimate of how much Alabama’s allocation will go up, or down, based on the new mAb allocation formula.

 

We look forward to receiving your responses to our questions.

 

Sincerely,

###

 

[1] uab.edu, “Five questions about monoclonal antibodies,” August 23, 2021, https://www.uab.edu/news/health/item/12241-five-questions-about-monoclonal-antibodies.

[2] Montgomery Advertiser, “New federal rules reduce Alabama monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID by 18%,” September 22, 2021, https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/news/local/2021/09/23/alabama-monoclonal-antibody-treatments-reduced-biden-administration/5790810001/.

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