Cancer drugs estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of euros, which were stored in a refrigerated area at Limassol general hospital, have been destroyed, state health services organisation (Okypy) spokesman Charalambos Charilaou confirmed on Wednesday.

The damage was caused by a temperature malfunction in the refrigerated storage area, which went unnoticed due to a failure in the alert system, Alithia newspaper reported.

It added that the drugs’ worth is estimated at €600,000.

Okypy has asked the public hospital to prepare a report on the event, which will determine the exact value of the drugs lost, Charialou said, noting the specific drugs were expensive.

The destruction was initially kept out of the public eye, but it has caused strong reactions among the hospital’s medical staff. While the exact date has not been announced, Charilaou said it occurred on a public holiday.

This incident comes approximately three months after the Nicosia-based pharmaceutical services warehouse was 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 in the industrial zone of Strovolos, Nicosia district.

This incident adds to a series of problems plaguing the country’s healthcare system.

In this case, serious questions arise regarding the proper storage of medicines, the adequacy of technical infrastructure, and the responsibilities that must be assumed. The specific storage area had known temperature stability issues, and alarms were supposed to be activated in case of a malfunction. However, the alarm system failed to function correctly this time.

The consequences of the destruction extend beyond economic losses as cancer patients require immediate and continuous pharmaceutical support, and the lack of medication can seriously impact their health.

Meanwhile, employees at the Limassol state hospital pharmacy are expected to hold a work stoppage on Thursday to protest severe understaffing which has left the pharmacy unable to function effectively.