North Korean Government Provides Steroids to Its Athletes

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The North Korean government manufacturers and supplies its athletes with anabolic steroids according to a North Korean defector. The anonymous defector was interviewed by the Chosun Ilbo. The Chosun Ilbo is the largest daily newspaper in South Korea. High-ranking officials within the Physical Culture and Sports Ministry allegedly oversee the covert manufacture of anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs at two facilities in Pyongyang. The plants outwardly appear to manufacture sports drinks but in reality they specialize in doping products.

Physical Culture and Sports Minister Pak Myong Chol and First Vice Minister Jang Ung operate the Sports Science Research Institute within the North Korean Sports Ministry according to the defector.

Minister Pak Myong Chol has controlled North Korean sports for over three decades. The defector claims that Sports Ministry officials visited the East Germany steroid doping regime during the late 1980s to learn how to manufacture and administer anabolic steroids and doping products while avoiding detection by anti-doping agencies.

First Vice Minister Jan Ung is responsible for finances at the Sports Ministry. He is allegedly responsible for funneling money for the development of undetectable performance-enhancing drugs for North Korean athletes.

The North Korean whistleblower exposed the systematic and organized doping program of the North Korean government only weeks after five members of the Korea DPR soccer team tested positive for 14 different anabolic steroids at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany.

The North Korean government blamed a “lightning strike” as responsible for the failed anti-doping tests. A traditional Chinese remedy known as Asian musk deer extract was used to treat the players who were struck by lightning. The Chinese medicine contained banned anabolic steroids that led to the positive steroid tests according to North Korean officials.

The North Korean defector suggests that this was merely a cover-up of the widespread doping endemic to the North Korean sports machine.

North Korea steroid doping regime


Shwartzman, N. (July 21, 2011). The truth behind North Korea’s doping regime. Retrieved from