Wrong Intention

One December day in 1975 President Kim Il Sung called a public health official to his office, and asked him about the work in the sector.

The official told the President about what he had been thinking of.

At that time there were people who did not value medicines as they were benefiting from the universal free medical care system. So they never regretted that they threw away the valuable medicines which had gone bad and unusable as they had not been kept well. And even a small health problem brought them to hospital to get new medicines.

Referring to the fact, the official suggested that hospitals charge people a bit for medicines in order to overcome such a phenomenon and stimulate people.

Then the President said: Of course, the waste of medicines might be reduced if prices are charged for them. But, you know, our people could not afford even a dose of medicine for their illness in the past, and it was their age-old dream to live in a world where they could get medical treatment free of charge. Now the dream has come true as they can have medicines without paying even a penny. How can we barter this precious reality for some money?

He generously added: I know you have made the suggestion to prevent the waste of medicines. But you’re wrong to intend to charge prices for medicines.

The official could not hold up his face filled with remorse.