Furious Kim Jong-un has banned Chinese medicines after a senior official died from a Chinese-made injection.
Use of medicines imported from north of the border, has been ordered to stop by the Supreme Leader who was angered by the death of a high-level North Korean official.
According to Daily NK, a well-placed source told how a member of the state's economic bureaucracy, was given a dose of cocarboxylase before his death this month.
The trusted bureaucrat who had worked in the country’s economic sector since the Kim Jong Il era, was in his 60s when he began suffering from a heart-related illness along with high blood pressure.
While undergoing treatment at the Pyongyang Medical College Hospital, the official was injected with cocarboxylase – a drug considered in North Korea as a “cure-all” remedy.
With the patient's condition showing no signs of improvement, a doctor injected him with a shot of cocarboxylase after suggesting he should receive North Korean medicine made at the Ryongheung Pharmaceutical Plant.
Daily NK reports that other medical staff instead argued that homemade injections were not suitable for such a high-ranking official.
In reaction to the man's death, Kim Jong Un issued a blanket ban on the use of Chinese medicines at major hospitals in Pyongyang, having reportedly expressed sadness over losing such a “talented official”.
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Chinese medical products have since been ordered to be “removed” from the capital's biggest health institutions.
Jong Un also demanded for all Covid-19 vaccines that had been developed in China, to be removed from ongoing analysis and a renewed drive for producing the country’s own jab.
Despite the leader's heavy-handed response to the death of a high-ranking official, it remains unconfirmed as to whether it was the result of his cocarboxylase injection.
The impact coronavirus has had on trade as well as sanctions placed on North Korea have left it in a medicine shortage crisis but authorities are leading a push to rely more heavily on domestically-made drugs.
A scepticism of domestically-made medicine still exists in the secretive state, making the ban of Chinese medicines a concern for the public.
An investigation into the cocarboxylase used has revealed a failure to correctly store medicines across Pyongyang's major hospitals.
Authorities found medical staff have not been refrigerating medicines and some of those that are in fridges or freezers, are not even turned on.
The findings have led to the World Health Organisation questioning North Korea's ability to safely store imported vaccines, the source told NK Daily.
They said: “Not having storage facilities in medical facilities will be a problem when the country receives vaccines from the World Health Organization [WHO]. I’m aware that the WHO also knows about this issue.”
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