June 23, 2023 HEALTH UPDATE

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Last week, the Los Angeles Times published an expose detailing the presence of Fentanyl in several medications purchased from pharmacies throughout Mexico. They discovered that just over half of the pills and capsules were contaminated with Fentanyl, and some were even contaminated with methamphetamine as well.

According to the article, most of these counterfeit meds were purchased when the reporters asked for Percocet or Adderall (two controlled substances). Overwhelmingly, the counterfeit medications were purchased from independent pharmacies, yet there was one instance mentioned of a regional chain selling some counterfeit medications, and some contaminated medications being packaged as antibiotics.

Back in March, the State Department issued a warning about the prevalence of counterfeit medications in Mexico and advised “Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.” They stopped short of recommending that people not buy any medications in Mexico.

However, considering the more recent discoveries, I am advising that US citizens should avoid purchasing medications in Mexico at this time.

While I do not necessarily believe that drugs like Ozempic purchased in Mexico would be laced with Fentanyl, I do believe that there is a good possibility such expensive meds could be counterfeit. Depending on what is in the counterfeit medication, this could be dangerous due to the person not getting the needed medication, or the counterfeit medication containing substances that could be harmful.

Fentanyl test strips are available for purchase on Amazon, and I am including a link in this message to the CDC website detailing how to use them. Fentanyl Test Strips: A Harm Reduction Strategy (cdc.gov)

I realize for many of you this issue is not relevant, yet getting information out to everyone on this topic may be lifesaving.

With regards to Covid, there are some isolated outbreaks here in Tucson, yet most of the respiratory infections I am encountering in the clinic are not Covid. Nonetheless, they are still very contagious, and there is a surge of these non-Covid infections occurring here in Tucson.

Taking proper precautions, such as not going out when feeling ill and avoiding being around those who are, should always be practiced. If you must go out when ill, please wear a mask which completely covers both your nose and mouth. They do help prevent infections. That is why surgeons wear them.

At the moment, I do not recommend getting any additional Covid boosters unless you are travelling and have not received a vaccine booster since last September. There is a newer formulation coming out in a few months, and that formulation will better address the current Omicron variant.

For those who remain concerned about the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), there is now a more traditional vaccine (Novavax) available which works well.

Finally, some office updates. The office will be closed Monday July 3 and Tuesday July 4. As usual, I will be available by cell phone during that time. I also welcome Regina and Valerie to the practice, and I believe you will find them very responsive and pleasant to interact with. Take care and have a wonderful week.