Kobayashi Supplement Death Toll Reaches 5; Contaminant Substance ‘Has Ringlike Structure’

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co. President Akihiro Kobayashi bows at a press conference in Osaka on Friday.

OSAKA — One more person has been confirmed to have died after taking a Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co. supplement, bringing the total number of deaths related to its supplements containing benikoji red rice mold to five, the company said on Friday.

I would like to deeply apologize for causing a serious social problem. We pray for the repose of the souls of our customers who passed away, and express our deepest condolences to their bereaved families, said Kobayashi Pharmaceutical President Akihiro Kobayashi at a press conference in Osaka City on Friday.

At the press conference, the company revealed that 114 people were hospitalized due to health problems caused by its supplements.

According to the company, it learned of the latest death after being contacted by the family on Thursday. The person had been taking the company’s Benikoji CholesteHelp product, which has been linked to harm in other cases, and died from kidney disease.

The company initially said that a batch of the supplements produced between July and October 2023 contained an unintended substance that could harm the health. However, as a result of checking by the company, the substance was found to be present in products produced between April and October 2023, and shipped between July and December 2023. The company admitted that it had incorrectly explained the manufacturing period.

The company said its own analysis shows that the unintended substance has a ringlike structure, which is being analyzed by the company together with university laboratories.