Health supplements in question not approved by Brunei Health Ministry

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The recent news reports on the recall of health supplement products containing beni-koji or red yeast rice manufactured by Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co, Japan allegedly connected with five deaths and 196 people being hospitalised as of April 4 in Japan, was never approved by the Health Ministry (MoH) to be imported and marketed in Brunei.

The recalled supplements have not yet received the Department of Pharmaceutical Services approval, the ministry stated in a release on Wednesday (April 10).

The MoH in alerting the public on supplement products, shared that the affected products are Beni-koji Choleste-Help (Red yeast rice cholesterol help), Nattokinase Smooth Grain Gold and Naishi-Help Plus Cholesterol.

The cause of the deaths and hospitalisation is being investigated by the authorities and manufacturer in Japan. The public using the products are advised to discontinue it with immediate effect and to return the product to the supplier or dispose it.

Beni-koji or red yeast rice is produced by fermentation of rice using yeast known as Monascus purpureus. One of the ingredients extracted from this process of fermentation is a naturally occurring substance known as Monocolin-K.

The chemical structure of Monocolin-K is similar to lovastatin, a prescription medicine which regulates the level of cholesterol in blood. Beni-koji or red yeast rice is also being used as ingredients in food products such as beverages, soups, dyes and food flavourings.

The MoH also advised the public to consult their doctor or pharmacist before taking health supplements.

Health supplements which include products containing beni-koji or red yeast rice may have the potential to interact with medications and can compromise the treatment for any existing health conditions.

The ministry said it will continue to conduct post-market surveillance of health supplement products available in the market to ensure public safety. – Borneo Bulletin/ANN

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Brunei , supplements , red yeast , rice


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