Efforts to expand access to an effective COVID-19 treatment have reached the nation’s capital as U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), along with his fellow Republican colleagues, has introduced legislation which would prohibit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from enacting policies limiting the drug’s supply.
HHS recently announced that it would be limiting access to the drug, claiming that states are over-ordering the life-saving drug. This move was met with immense pushback from the Alabama Medical Association and others, as many fear the department’s move would restrict access and disrupt the drug’s supply chain.
Earlier this month, Tuberville sent a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra demanding answers as to why the Biden administration is rationing treatment access to states which are experiencing high hospitalization rates, many of which are Republican-controlled states.
To combat the HHS move, Tuberville, along with U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rick Scott (R-FL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced the “Treatment Restoration for Emergency Antibody Therapeutics (TREAT) Act.”
Alongside restricting HHS from implementing policies disrupting the drug’s supply, the bill would also nullify the Biden administration’s recently-enacted policy which forces hospitals and other health care providers to work through states to receive supplies.
Alabama’s junior senator noted that HHS has failed to respond to his letter demanding answers surrounding the move to limit access to the drug. Tuberville reiterated the fact that red states are seemingly being disproportionately affected by the action.
“We know that monoclonal antibody treatments save lives so it is beyond me why the Biden administration has taken it into their own hands to throttle the supply of this lifesaving treatment,” Tuberville said. “I have yet to receive any answers to my questions for HHS about the reasoning behind these new restrictions, which is cause for concern, especially considering predominately Republican states are being impacted.”
The freshman senator pledged to continue his efforts to ensure timely access to the effective COVID-19 therapeutic.
“Across Alabama, medical professionals and folks who got the virus have stressed to me the importance of ensuring this therapeutic is not caught up in partisan politics,” he added. “I will do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen, and those who need the treatment receive it without delay.”
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL