Agency of Medicines reported faults in Health Board's storage in April

Health Board's cold storage facility.
Health Board's cold storage facility. Source: Health Board

The Agency of Medicines (Ravimiamet) reported to the Health Insurance Fund, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Health Board in April that the latter has issues with the handling of medicines.

The Agency of Medicines forwarded to the National Audit Office that the agency reported on April 13 of there being shortcomings in how the Health Board is handling different medicines and that it needs to be discussed. A proposal was also made to arrange a meeting.

"The goal of the meeting was to provide an overview of COVID-19 vaccine organization and shortcomings of vaccine handling," the agency announced.

A meeting between the Agency of Medicines, the Health Insurance Fund, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Health Board took place on April 20. "We talked about the roles of each institution in the process and pointed to possible improvements in the Health Board's actions, including shortcomings in the Health Board's medicines wholesale quality system and operation," the letter reads.

A week after the meeting, the Health Board was forwarded the materials from the presentation and different references to training programs were provided.

In late June, a Health Board cold storage facility failed, leading to more than 68,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses destroyed. In total, 250,000 doses of medicines and vaccines had to be written off and destroyed because temperatures in the storage unit rose to improper levels for medicines storage. A few days later, another storage facility malfunctioned.

An investigation determined that the rise in temperature was likely caused by faults with the design and construction of the building. The report of the committee headed by the state secretary says the failure of the Health Board's cold stores was most likely caused by faults in the design and construction of the building, which manifested themselves during a prolonged period of hot weather.

The cold stores in the building were designed and built in such a way that, according to the Estonian Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority, they would have ceased to function as cold stores at some point.

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said in July that initial information from the Health Board suggested the incident was less serious than it turned out to be.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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