In an interview Friday afternoon, Regeneron’s chief executive, Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, said Mr. Trump’s medical staff reached out to the company for permission to use the drug, and that it was cleared with the Food and Drug Administration.
“All we can say is that they asked to be able to use it, and we were happy to oblige,” he said. He said that so-called compassionate use cases — when patients are granted access to an experimental treatment outside of a clinical trial — are decided on a case-by-case basis and he is not the first patient to granted permission to use the treatment this way. “When it’s the president of the United States, of course, that gets — obviously — gets our attention.”
In my non-specialist but not entirely uninformed opinion, this is basically an effective treatment, and barring major unobserved genetic risk factors Trump will recover. The risk of side effects is not significant. But of course neither the FDA nor Regneron will let me do the same. Or you.
There is such cacophony when Trump pushes the FDA to speed vaccine approval — mere pressure rather than an action. Yet when he actually gets a promising treatment through the process “prematurely” — only for himself — not a single person is yelping. Not even his worst enemies and most vicious opponents. Nor do I see anyone arguing that the President is being allowed to take excess risk, and that the judgments of the regulators should be enforced consistently and for the good of the office of the presidency.
Nope. Model that! (Hint: start with the idea of status.)
In the meantime, I think the common intuition about the Trump monoclonal antibodies case is essentially correct, and it ought to be applied most broadly. And not just for presidents.
Here is the full NYT story.