Five dead and more than 100 hospitalized due to Japanese health supplements withdrawn from the market | Trending Viral hub


TOKYO — In the week since a line of Japanese health supplements began being recalled, five people have died and more than 100 have been hospitalized as of Friday.

Osaka-based Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co. was criticized for not going public quickly due to problems known internally as early as January. The first public announcement came on March 22.

Company officials said 114 people were being treated in hospitals after taking products, including Benikoji Choleste Help intended to lower cholesterol, which contains an ingredient called benikoji, a type of red mold. At the beginning of the week, the death toll was two people.

Some people developed kidney problems after taking the supplements, but the exact cause is still under investigation in cooperation with government laboratories, according to the manufacturer.

“We apologize deeply,” President Akihiro Kobayashi told reporters Friday, bowing for a long time to emphasize the apology along with three other top company officials.

He expressed his remorse to those who have died and become ill, as well as their families. He also apologized for the problems caused to the entire healthcare sector. food industry and the medical profession, adding that the company was working to prevent further damage and improve crisis management.

The company’s products have been recalled, as have dozens of other products containing benikoji, including miso paste, crackers and a vinegar dressing. Japan’s Ministry of Health posted a list on its official site of all recalled products, including some that use benikoji as a food coloring.

The ministry warned that deaths could continue to rise. The supplements could be purchased in pharmacies without a prescription, and some may have been purchased or exported before the recall, including by tourists who may not have been aware of the health risks.

Kobayashi Pharmaceutical had been selling benikoji products for years, with one million packs sold in the last three fiscal years, but a problem arose with supplements produced in 2023. Kobayashi Pharmaceutical said it produced 18.5 tons of benikoji last year.

Some analysts blame recent deregulation initiatives, which simplified and accelerated the approval of health products to spur economic growth.


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