Is there some legal basis for POTUS having to "clear" subordinates for certain therapies?


Ben Carson, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was quoted saying that:

"President Trump was following my condition and cleared me for the monoclonal antibody therapy that he had previously received, which I am convinced saved my life," Carson wrote. He said he is now "out of the woods."

Is there some legal basis for POTUS having to "clear" subordinates for a certain therapy, such as the monoclonal antibody therapy (for Covid-19)?


Posted 2020-11-21T22:43:59.527

Reputation: 76 605

10I'm pretty sure he used 'clear' in the sense of 'made it possible', not 'allowed him to do it'. In other words, Trump heard Carson was sick, made a few calls, and got Carson access to an unapproved treatment Carson would not other wise have ben able to get. – Ted Wrigley – 2020-11-22T00:27:18.423

1In a more general case, a president could reasonably object to a Cabinet member receiving optional medical treatment that would render them unable to serve in their post for a significant time. But that clearly doesn't apply here. – John Dallman – 2020-11-22T12:29:37.943



It's unclear which treatment (there are multiple companies which have developed antibody treatments) Secretary Carson received or why the president would need to authorize it. According to CNN:

When Trump had Covid-19 last month, he received Regeneron's experimental antibody treatment, which is still in large-scale clinical trials but has been available for compassionate use -- something the FDA has to approve on an individual basis, as it did for the President. The company in October applied to the FDA asking for emergency use authorization of its antibody treatment.

It's not clear how the President could have cleared Carson to take the antibody treatment or if Carson got Regeneron's treatment. Eli Lilly, which also makes a monoclonal antibody treatment, declined to comment when CNN asked if Carson had been given their treatment. CNN has also asked Regeneron if Carson received their treatment.

CNN has reached out to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for more information on Carson's treatment.


Posted 2020-11-21T22:43:59.527

Reputation: 26 015