Oct. 1 (UPI) -- North Korea said it has "developed" injectable selenium that can be used to treat drug addiction, according to state media.
Pyongyang propaganda service Maeari said Monday North Korea's medical scientists developed a "highly effective" selenium injection and have obtained a drug patent.
The statement included a rare reference to drug addiction cases in the country. Defectors in the South have said crystal methamphetamine is an epidemic.
The injection was developed through "comprehensive research" and analysis of previously developed selenium injections, Maeari said.
Injectable selenium is a sterile, non-pyrogenic solution used in feeding that bypasses the gastrointestinal tract. In the United States, the drug has not been found to be safe and effective and has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
According to North Korea state media, the North Korea-developed selenium can "promote the action of various enzymes" and "enhances the biological reactivity of organisms, binding one-on-one with peroxides, mercury and chromium."
The drug helps to excrete heavy metals out of the body, Maeari said.
State media also said clinical trials show the injectable drug has been "shown to be effective" in treating brain and cardiovascular diseases, thyroid treatments and "drug addictions."
North Korea added the "patented selenium injection" was on exhibit at different expos in the country.
North Korea's claim of a self-developed drug comes at a time when the country depends heavily on trade with China to maintain its economy.
Speculation is rising in Seoul that Kim Jong Un could meet with President Xi Jinping following the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, local news service Seoul Pyongyang News reported Tuesday.
Seoul's foreign ministry said there are no special indications Kim could travel to China. They are also monitoring the situation, according to the report.
North Korean officials are expected to meet with U.S. counterparts on Saturday for working-level talks.