Law professor suing NYSDOH over directive to prioritize non-whites for COVID-19 drugs

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) — A Cornell law professor is suing the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) in federal court over its directive requiring medical providers to prioritize non-whites and Hispanic people for potentially life-saving COVID-19 treatment, saying that’s unconstitutional.

News10NBC recently featured the directive in a Fact Check segment.

It was issued by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration in late December and stated “Non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor, as longstanding systemic health and social inequities have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.”

The Albany Times Union is reporting William A. Jacobson’s lawsuit argues that directive for the antiviral and monoclonal antibody treatments, which are in short supply, is "patently unconstitutional" because it uses racial preferences in determining whether someone qualifies to receive them, and violates the Fourteenth Amendment, the Civil Rights Act and other federal statutes.

Jacobson argues that race-neutral policies should govern how the treatments are distributed and that patients of any race should qualify if they demonstrate risk factors that include age, obesity, a compromised immune system, or other medical conditions.

He is seeking a temporary and permanent injunction prohibiting the state from implementing or enforcing the policy and a court order giving equal status to those who may be excluded from receiving the treatments due to their race, as well as attorneys’ fees, but no monetary damages.

When News10NBC reached out to the NYSDOH about the guidelines, it said the guidance came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The guidelines from the NYSDOH are below (mobile users, click here):

Prioritization of Mabs During Resource Shortages 20211229 by News10NBC on Scribd