Davis Introduces Legislation Barring Race and Ethnicity as Eligibility Consideration for COVID Treatments

By Jeremy Coumbes on February 8, 2022 at 11:36am

An Illinois Congressman has introduced legislation aimed at blocking racial and ethnic discrimination in access to Covid-19 treatment.

13th District Congressman Rodney Davis introduced the Equal Access to Therapeutics Act yesterday, along with New York Representatives Nicole Malliotakis and Andrew Garbarino. Davis says the measure is an effort to ensure patients are not restricted from accessing potentially life-saving treatments.

According to Davis’ announcement, the bill comes in response to several states issuing guidance, and some hospitals using scoring systems, that make eligibility for COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments and therapeutics based on the race or ethnicity of a patient.

In the announcement, Davis points to guidance provided by the FDA for the use of Sotrovimab, a treatment for mild-to-moderate COVID-19, alluding to race and ethnicity being a risk factor for severe progression. Davis says the guidance, therefore, contributed to eligibility for use of the treatments which contributed to the guidance issued by some states and hospitals.

Davis says “Life-saving care should not be denied to anyone because of their race or ethnicity, period.” He says “This legislation will make sure that everyone has access to the COVID-19 treatments they need regardless of race or ethnicity.

The legislation would restrict the Secretary of Health and Human Services from issuing guidance that would restrict access to monoclonal antibody therapies and other treatments based on the race or ethnicity of a patient and would hold the Secretary of HHS personally responsible for the death of any individual who was denied access to treatments due to race or ethnicity.

The measure would also block federal funding to hospitals and healthcare providers who restrict access to the treatments based on race or ethnicity.

12th District Congressman Mike Bost of Illinois is a cosponsor of the bill.