Japanese drugmaker reports death of person who took 'beni-koji' supplement

Major Japanese drugmaker Kobayashi Pharmaceutical has disclosed that a person who consumed one of its dietary supplements died of kidney disease earlier this year.

The Osaka-based company suspects a causal link between the product and the death and is conducting an investigation.

The supplement called "Benikoji CholesteHelp" contains a type of yeast-fermented rice called "beni-koji." The company is recalling three types of dietary supplements which contain this ingredient, due to reports of kidney illness and other health problems. It is calling on people to stop using them.

Kobayashi Pharmaceutical says it was informed by the deceased person's family that the person purchased "Benikoji CholesteHelp" over a period of about three straight years from April 2021.

Officials say the company received more than 3,000 e-mails after it announced reports of health problems on Friday. They say the family e-mailed the company on Saturday night, but were unable to confirm that they received the message until Monday. They say they plan to meet with the family on Tuesday to confirm details.

The company also plans to look into another 26 people who have been hospitalized due to health problems.

Food manufacturers are voluntarily recalling products which contain the "beni-koji" ingredient that was used in the recalled supplements. Kobayashi Pharmaceutical has sold the ingredient through a subsidiary.