Kobayashi Pharmaceutical said Friday that it has confirmed a fifth death linked to its beni kо̄ji red yeast rice dietary supplements.

The Japanese company has received reports of illness linked to Beni Koji Choleste Help supplements and recalled the products. The relationship between the deaths and the supplements remains unclear, and Kobayashi Pharmaceutical President Akihiro Kobayashi was set to hold a news conference later in the day in Osaka.

The drugmaker announced on March 22 that some people who took the supplements had experienced symptoms such as kidney disease.

The company has not disclosed the age, sex or address of anyone who has died. It suspects an unknown substance derived from mold may have caused the problems but is unable to ascertain a specific cause.

A total of 93 people have been hospitalized after consuming the supplements, the health ministry said Thursday, adding that Kobayashi Pharmaceutical had received about 12,000 inquiries about the problems.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese media reported Thursday a possible health issue linked to Kobayashi Pharmaceutical's products.

A 70-year-old woman who been taking a supplement manufactured by a Taiwanese company using beni kо̄ji imported from the Japanese pharmaceutical firm had been diagnosed with acute kidney failure, according to Taiwanese media.

The United Daily News, a major Taiwanese newspaper, said that the woman went to the doctor in March last year after experiencing symptoms such as diarrhea. Her condition later worsened and she was put on dialysis starting the following May.

The woman had been taking the supplement for three or four years.

Two health food companies in Taiwan have made supplements using Kobayashi Pharmaceutical's beni kо̄ji.

The reports come after a series of health issues were reported in Japan among users of Kobayashi Pharmaceutical's beni kо̄ji supplement.