White House press secretary Jen Psaki; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisDrew Angerer/Getty Images; Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Psaki said it was “crazy” for DeSantis to continue pushing antibody treatments the FDA says don’t work.
The FDA announced that monoclonal antibody treatments aren’t effective against Omicron and limited their use.
DeSantis accused the Biden administration of “medical authoritarianism” and said the decision would cost lives.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that it’s “crazy” for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to continue advocating for the use of monoclonal antibody treatments after the Food and Drug Administration restricted the treatments, citing inefficacy against the dominant Omicron variant of COVID-19.
“Well, let’s just take a step back here just to realize how crazy this is,” Psaki told reporters during a Tuesday press briefing. “These treatments — the ones that they are fighting over, that the governor’s fighting over — do not work against Omicron, and they have side effects. That is what the scientists are saying.”
Psaki said the Biden administration is investing in a range of treatments, including monoclonal antibodies, pre-exposure treatments, and oral antiviral pills. She noted that the administration has sent Florida 71,000 doses of antiviral treatments that are effective against both Omicron and Delta.
The FDA on Monday revised its emergency authorization use for two monoclonal antibody treatments because the “data show these treatments are highly unlikely to be active against the omicron variant,” the agency said in a statement.
Omicron, a highly contagious variant of COVID-19, is estimated to account for nearly 99% of new cases in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Psaki went on to chide DeSantis, a conservative Republican, for being among a number of elected officials “advocating for things that don’t work” against the virus, including “injecting disinfectant, promoting other pseudoscience, sowing doubt on the effectiveness of vaccines and boosters.”
DeSantis, who’s refused to say whether he’s received a COVID-19 booster shot, demanded that the FDA reverse its decision in a statement on Monday.
“Without a shred of clinical data to support this action, Biden has forced trained medical professionals to choose between treating their patients or breaking the law,” DeSantis said. “This indefensible edict takes treatment out of the hands of medical professionals and will cost some Americans their lives. There are real-world implications to Biden’s medical authoritarianism – Americans’ access to treatments is now subject to the whims of a failing president.”
Florida health officials announced late Monday that it would be closing all of its monoclonal antibody treatment sites in light of the FDA’s decision.
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