The number of deaths in Japan from consuming a dietary supplement rises to five

A total of 786 people had sought medical assistance until March 31 after consuming any of the red yeast rice supplements withdrawn from the Japanese pharmaceutical company Kobayashi Pharmaceutical and 157 required hospitalization, according to the most recent official data, published this Tuesday.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
01 April 2024 Monday 17:27
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The number of deaths in Japan from consuming a dietary supplement rises to five

A total of 786 people had sought medical assistance until March 31 after consuming any of the red yeast rice supplements withdrawn from the Japanese pharmaceutical company Kobayashi Pharmaceutical and 157 required hospitalization, according to the most recent official data, published this Tuesday.

The number of deaths linked to the consumption of these products amounts to five, but the exact reason for the deaths is still unknown, which is why the Japanese Ministry of Health reported today that investigations continue to clarify the causes of the health problems.

The almost 800 medical consultations are related to kidney diseases and other pathologies after having consumed some of the company's pills that were sold as a supplement capable of reducing cholesterol, and the 157 admissions are due to anomalies in the physical condition of the patients, they noted. the Japanese authorities.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, as well as the country's Consumer Agency, received a total of 1,578 telephone queries related to the consumption of the products until the end of March through a special line, while the pharmaceutical company itself would have received about 22,000, according to figures collected by the public broadcaster NHK and the Jiji news agency.

Kobayashi Pharmaceutical has explained that it found puberulic acid in some of the supplements, a natural compound that could have been derived from the fermentation process and that can be toxic in certain doses, according to the Ministry of Health, although it is unknown if it is the factor causing the health problems.

The Japanese pharmaceutical company has recalled 300,000 containers of three types of food supplements that contained red yeast rice (beni-koji in Japanese), a type of this fermented cereal.

The product was also available in Taiwan, through an intermediary firm, and in China, through e-commerce platforms.

In addition to cholesterol-lowering supplements, Kobayashi Pharmaceutical distributed red yeast rice to 52 other domestic and foreign companies, asking them to recall their products in case they might also be affected.

In turn, those fifty companies could have supplied raw materials originating in Kobayashi to another 173 companies.