Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Declines to Say Whether He Will Purchase Monoclonal Antibodies Directly from Private Vendor


Staff for Tennessee Governor Bill Lee on Friday would not say whether he will follow the lead of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and purchase thousands of monoclonal antibody treatments directly from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

GlaxoSmithKiline manufactures the monoclonal antibody treatments.

Members of U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration put in place policies that allow the federal government to decide how to allocate the monoclonal antibody treatments to each state. State leaders would then ration it out to various locations. But DeSantis, however, bypassed Biden’s restrictions.

A GSK spokesperson addressed the matter with The Tennessee Star via email Friday.

“Since receiving Emergency Use Authorization in May, GSK has worked to make sotrovimab commercially available in the United States for direct ordering through AmerisourceBergen – meaning that any eligible health care provider or facility could order sotrovimab,” the GSK spokesperson said.

“We can confirm sotrovimab was purchased through AmerisourceBergen by CDR Health in Florida – a health and medical services company providing COVID monoclonal antibody infusions.”

The Star asked members of Lee’s communications staff Friday whether Lee will do as DeSantis did and also use his authority to purchase monoclonal antibody treatments from GSK. Members of Lee’s staff did not respond before Friday’s stated deadline.

Earlier this month, Florida received approximately 30,000 doses. This week, Florida was only scheduled to get 18,000.

But, because of DeSantis, the state will instead collect an additional 3,000 doses.

“We should be doing everything we can to get patients monoclonal antibody treatments, not cutting allocations of treatment like the Biden Administration has done,” DeSantis said.

“Despite the cuts by the federal government, we want any Floridians that could benefit from this treatment to have access to it. Florida is going to leave no stone unturned when finding treatment for our state, and we are encouraged to have secured a shipment of monoclonal antibody treatments from GlaxoSmithKline.”

According to multiple studies, the treatment helps prevent hospitalization and severe illness when given to individuals in the early stages of COVID-19. DeSantis estimated that the treatment has saved thousands of individuals from hospitalization.

Officials with two other pharmaceutical companies who produce monoclonal antibody treatments said Wednesday that the U.S. government distributes the currently-available supply of those treatments. They also said that those companies may not sell them to hospitals or state governments.

A spokesman for the New York state-based Regeneron, who identified himself only as Alex, told The Star that the U.S. government owns the currently available supply of REGEN-COV, which is the company’s monoclonal antibody treatment. Eli Lilly spokeswoman Allison Howell also said hospitals cannot purchase monoclonal antibody treatments directly from her company.

Tennessee Department of Health officials said this week that only the unvaccinated should take monoclonal antibody treatments.

Tennessee State Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka), discussed monoclonal antibody treatments at a rally last week. There, hundreds of Tennesseans expressed their displeasure with COVID-19 mandates and the lack of a special session of the Tennessee General Assembly to fight them.

“We have reached the point in escalation where the federal government is targeting the great state of Tennessee,” Cepicky said.

“They are rationing our monoclonal antibodies that can save Tennesseeans. They are telling you what you have to do to your body. It’s time to say enough.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]







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7 Thoughts to “Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Declines to Say Whether He Will Purchase Monoclonal Antibodies Directly from Private Vendor”

  1. Cannoneer2

    Monoclonal antibodies are made using cells from fetal tissue. That makes it unlikely for Bill Lee to get involved..

  2. Jay

    Please someone wake up Lee.

  3. JB

    Will someone please run and replace this Soy governor that we have? I will crawl through glass in Fayette County putting up yard signs for them.

  4. 83ragtop50

    Yet another failure for Lee. I have seen weak leaders but he is not just weak but totally absent. Oh, that is except for appointing liberal people such as Penny Schwinn to his staff and his rush to welcome “refugees” with open arms. Vote the bum out. Oh how I wish for leadership like that exhibited by Abbott of Texas and DeSantis of Florida. I can only dream. I sure have not seen show leadership in the 15 years I have lived in Tennessee.

  5. Kitty Lenoir

    Really not surprised. Govenor Lee is a weak follower. The federal government is quickly trying to erode state power, and looks like our governor is not standing in the way. He should be at the forefront of fighting back.

  6. Mark Knofler

    IS anyone surprised Gov Weak Knees caves on another simple issue? #VotetheBumsOut!