Kim Jong Un orders Chinese medicine ban in Pyongyang hospitals after senior official dies

A senior North Korean official recently died after receiving a Chinese-made injection, Daily NK has learned. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is said to have become very angry after learning of the incident and has banned the use of Chinese medicines in major hospitals in Pyongyang.

A high-level source told Daily NK yesterday that the official, who was part of the country’s economic bureaucracy, was given a dose of cocarboxylase before he died earlier this month.

The official was in his sixties and was a trusted bureaucrat who had worked in the country’s economic sector since the Kim Jong Il era.

The man recently started to suffer from heart disease associated with high blood pressure and was treated at Pyongyang Medical College Hospital while on sick leave.

Right before his death, the man was given an injection of cocarboxylase, which is typically used to help patients recover from fatigue. In North Korea, however, the drug is being used as a miracle cure to treat lung disease, high blood pressure and even contagious infections, according to the source’s account.

Suffering from underlying illnesses, the man failed to recover his strength in the hospital, and his doctor eventually gave him an injection of cocarboxylase.

The doctor initially allegedly argued that the man should be given drugs made at the Ryongheung pharmaceutical plant in North Korea. However, other medical staff have successfully argued that domestically produced injections should not be given to such a high-ranking official.

North Korea is currently suffering from a shortage of medicines given the sanctions on the country and the impact of COVID-19 on trade. North Korean authorities stress the importance of using domestically produced drugs as a way to replace the lack of imported drugs.

Different types of drugs sold in North Korean markets. / Image: Daily NK

However, many ordinary North Koreans are still suspicious of domestically produced drugs.

When Kim Jong Un learned that the man had been injected with Chinese, he ordered a complete ban on the use of Chinese medicines in major hospitals in Pyongyang.

Kim is said to have expressed sadness at losing such a “talented official,” who was a trusted government employee, and ordered that Chinese medical products be “withdrawn” from all major hospitals in Pyongyang.

It also ordered that all samples of COVID-19 vaccine made in China be removed from ongoing testing and research activities focused on producing the country’s own COVID-19 vaccine.

It is still not clear why the man died, although he appears to have perished right after receiving the cocarboxylase injection.

However, the authorities are currently investigating through which commercial company the doses of cocarboxylase were imported.

During the investigation, authorities also found that major hospitals in Pyongyang did not properly stock various types of medicines.

Medical staff store drugs without refrigerating them, and there are cases where drugs are stored in refrigerators or freezers that do not have electricity.

The investigation revealed that North Korea will have difficulty transporting and storing the vaccines when it receives them from overseas.

“The lack of storage facilities at medical facilities will be a problem when the country receives vaccines from the World Health Organization. [WHO]The source said. “I am aware that the WHO is also aware of this problem.”

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Louis Foulds

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