Drugmaker to reexamine 'beni-koji' product over kidney problems

Japanese drugmaker Kobayashi Pharmaceuticals will reexamine its dietary supplement "Naishi-help plus cholesterol" after kidney problems were reported by a consumer. The product contains the ingredient "beni-koji," or red yeast rice.

Kidney disorders have been reported in people who had taken "Beni-koji choleste-help," another of the company's supplements, which contains a similar ingredient. A substance believed to be puberulic acid, which is an unintended ingredient, has been detected in the supplement, as well as the "beni-koji" used in the products made last year.

The drugmaker said inspections so far have found that unintended ingredients have not been detected in products other than "Beni-koji choleste-help."

But a survey by the Japanese Society of Nephrology has found that among the 47 patients who developed kidney disorders, one person was taking "Naishi-help plus cholesterol."

Last week, Osaka City officials ordered the drugmaker to recall dietary supplements containing the "beni-koji" ingredient, including "Naishi-help plus cholesterol" and "Beni-koji choleste-help."