Cyprus Mail

Large quantities of medicines destroyed by flood

Health Minister Michael Damianos

Water leakage into medical storage facilities of the health ministry through a damaged roof, resulted in large quantities of medicines being destroyed it was revealed on Wednesday.

The incident happened during the recent extreme rains and hailstorm which hit Nicosia on Green Monday.

Thousands of packages were also removed to prevent them from being affected by the flood.

The health ministry is still in the process of taking stock of the damages while the financial losses incurred have yet to be assessed, leaving open the question of whether patients will be faced with shortages.

Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC, Health Minister Michalis Damianos, rebutted accusations that the ministry had attempted to cover up the event.

“Our main concern is for there not to be any shortages and we are taking actions in this direction,” Damianos said.

An ad hoc committee of pharmacologists has been set up to mitigate the damages and conduct a meticulous recording and sorting of the medicines which had been stored in the facility, the minister said.

Specialised therapeutics and medicines at the ministry’s facility included some prescribed by request to patients in need, as well as general medicines in use in the country’s hospitals.

The health insurance organisation (HIO) and the state health services (Okypy), on behalf of which the ministry keeps the drug stocks in these warehouses, had been informed of the situation two weeks ago and authorities have already been coordinating with medical importers to make up losses, daily Phileleftheros reported.

According to the daily, drugs worth tens of millions of euros were kept in the storage facilities and the specific building had been deemed unsuitable for months.

Damianos downplayed portrayals of the disaster as “huge” saying that appraisals of the situation must hold off until the committee’s work of registering damages was completed.

The minister also contested that lack of maintenance of the building’s roof was to blame, calling the weather incident an “act of God”. However, he said, investigations would be carried out and responsibilities assigned as required.

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