Israel will look to make a potentially life-saving COVID-19 treatment readily available to the general public, the Health Ministry chief said on Sunday.
Responding to a Ynet query about allegations the ministry was withholding the treatment from Israeli patients, the ministry's director-general Prof. Nachman Ash said that he "would like to see more people get [Regeneron — an FDA-approved medicine with a proven track record in the United States] to lower the number of hospitalizations."
He noted that supplying HMOs with the treatment faced several logistical hurdles and that he and health officials were examining several options, hoping to resolve the issue soon.
To that end, Prof. Ash held a meeting with the heads of Israel's health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and discussed making the treatment, which currently can only be prescribed by a private physician, accessible through public medicine as well.
Regeneron is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies designed to prevent at-risk COVID-19 patients in mild condition from developing severe illness that may end in hospitalization and even death.
Former U.S. president Donald Trump hailed the treatment after coming down with COVID-19 last year.
Meanwhile, senior physicians and infection diseases experts were calling on the Health Ministry to promote a fundamental change in the subject posthaste.
"I have been pleading healthcare providers to administer this medicine for a long time now", Head of the Infectious Disease Department at Sheba Medical Center Prof. Galia Rahav told Ynet last Thursday. "It should be available for the public and not held in the hospital."