Recalled Japanese health supplements lead to 5 deaths and over 100 hospitalizations

In the past week, Japanese health supplements produced by Osaka-based Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co. have been recalled due to serious health risks. As of Friday, five people have died and over 100 people have been hospitalized after taking the company’s products, including Benikoji Choleste Help, which contain a red mold known as benikoji.

The recall comes after the company faced criticism for not disclosing internal problems earlier, despite being aware of issues as early as January. The company made a public announcement on March 22, but many people who consumed the supplements had already experienced kidney problems. Investigations are ongoing to determine the exact cause of the illnesses and deaths caused by the products.

President Akihiro Kobayashi issued a public apology on behalf of the company, expressing deep remorse for the harm caused by their products. Kobayashi Pharmaceutical has recalled all affected products, including food items that contain benikoji for coloring. Japan’s health ministry has issued warnings about the recalled products, advising people to avoid them and seek medical attention if they have taken them recently.

Some analysts attribute the problems to recent deregulation initiatives aimed at boosting economic growth in Japan. The country had long been known for its strict regulations on pharmaceuticals and supplements, but recent changes have allowed companies to market their products more freely without extensive testing or oversight. This may have contributed to issues with some of Kobayashi Pharmaceutical’s products.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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