Kobayashi Pharma says blue mold compound may be cause of health problems

Scandal-hit Kobayashi Pharmaceutical said on Friday that a chemical compound naturally made by blue mold may have been the cause of the health damage linked to its beni kо̄ji (red yeast rice) dietary supplements — now linked to five deaths and 114 hospitalizations — and also apologized for its poor response to reports of those problems.

The Osaka-based drugmaker’s executives, however, said that it has not established a clear link between the compound — puberulic acid — and the reported health damage.

The firm reported the most recent fatal case the same day, bringing the overall death count to five — all of the deceased are said to be men and women between the ages of 70 and 90.

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