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DeMarco: Alabama leaders must circumvent Biden administration rules that limit treatment options for COVID-19 patients

As the pandemic continues around the nation, one highly effective medication for those that have already contracted COVID-19 is the monoclonal antibody treatment. Thousands of patients across Alabama have received this treatment, and it has proven to keep patients out of the hospital and prevent deaths by up to 70%.

Yet, as infections and deaths from the virus continue to climb in Alabama at record rates, the Biden administration has abruptly limited the amount of monoclonal antibody treatment to many states, including Alabama. The Alabama Department of Public Health was given short notice that the treatment drugs could be limited significantly and would now have to be distributed directly to the state by the federal providers, instead of to hospitals and other private healthcare sites. Limiting the supply will lead to less medications for patients who need it to avoid serious outcomes.

Alabama has millions of dollars in federal health care grants for COVID-19 relief that have not been spent and can still be appropriated. That money should be used to purchase more monoclonal antibody treatments to make up for the restrictions imposed by the president. Florida is looking at taking the same approach to prevent more of its citizens from being hospitalized.

Alabama leaders must take action immediately to protect the lives of Alabama citizens during this pandemic.

Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature should implement plans to order the medications directly from other manufacturers of this treatment.

We cannot allow the Biden administration to limit supplies, which could cost more hospitalizations and fatalities in Alabama.

Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives