Health Minister Michael Damianos issued instructions on Friday for the immediate preparation of a report on the process followed for the rental of the pharmaceutical services warehouse which flooded during a hailstorm on March 18, causing damages estimated at €880,000.

A total of 105,401 packages, concerning 149 different pharmaceuticals, were spoiled during the hailstorm. The warehouse is located in the industrial zone of Strovolos, Nicosia district.

Speaking to journalists, Damianos said that the report will include events surrounding the operation of the warehouse from the stage of the initial contract in 2003 until today.

Responding to questions regarding the damages to the warehouse, he said he expects to receive the report as soon as possible, noting that the deadline for its submission has been set for April 8.

Meanwhile, according to him, the procedures for the relocation of the warehouse have already been set in motion.

“The need to transfer all the remaining pharmaceuticals to another location had been recognised, it is an absolute priority,” Damianos said.

“The established procedures for public tenders will be followed, so that the new space meets all modern specifications for storing drugs.”

As far as damage assessment is concerned, Damianos said that the relevant services of the health ministry have been mobilised since the hailstorm, noting that the primary concern from the outset was to ensure the adequacy of the drugs.

“An ad hoc committee has been established, which has begun the assessment of damages. The process is in its final phase,” he said.

Furthermore, Damianos added that there is no drug shortage.

“The ministry’s goal is always aimed at preventing any shortage of drugs and to ensure that patients are not inconvenienced.

So far, no shortages of drugs have been observed,” he said, expressing confidence that no problems will arise.

“I want to make it clear that the health ministry has all the necessary tools to maintain an adequate supply of drugs,” he concluded.

On Thursday, during a House health committee meeting, MPs also heard that, in addition to the flooding of March 18, two other incidents involving water leaks at the same premises occurred last year.

Head of the health ministry’s pharmaceutical services, Elena Panayiotopoulou, said that jurisdiction over medicine warehouses was transferred away from them and to the ministry’s purchasing and supplies directorate in 2017.

However, in November 2019 the pharmaceutical services were asked to carry out a report into the state of the premises. Inspectors found a worn floor, no system in place measuring room temperature, no insect traps, items cluttering the space, and cracks in the roof of the building.

The inspection also revealed that the space where recalled drugs were being stored, was unlocked.

Panayiotopoulou also said that no other inspection has taken place since the one in 2019.