TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA/AP) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continued to push Wednesday for coronavirus patients to receive monoclonal antibody treatments that were pulled by the federal government after they were deemed ineffective against the omicron variant.
DeSantis held a news conference at Miami Dade College’s North Campus Wednesday with Florida Department of Health Deputy Secretary Dr. Kenneth Scheppke and other medical experts to decry what he called a “rash decision” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The Food and Drug Administration said it was revoking emergency authorization for Regeneron and Eli Lilly because they don’t work against the omicron variant that now accounts for nearly all U.S. infections. If the drugs prove effective against future variants, the FDA said it could reauthorize their use.
An updated drug labeling released Monday, the FDA said omicron appears 1,000-fold less vulnerable to Regeneron’s drug and nearly 3,000-fold less vulnerable to Lilly’s drug.
At a news conference Tuesday, DeSantis referenced anecdotal cases in which people were helped by the monoclonal antibody treatments and said it was “reckless” to block the drugs.
“People have a right to access these treatments, and to revoke it on this basis is just fundamentally wrong and we’re going to fight back,” DeSantis said at a news conference.
Asked about DeSantis’ opposition to the FDA decision, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “Let’s just take a step back here to realize how crazy this is.”
“They are still advocating for treatments that don’t work,” she said of DeSantis.
The drugs are not a substitute for vaccination and are generally reserved for people who are the most vulnerable, including seniors, transplant recipients, and those with conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.