An unlicensed pharmacy in Siem Reap City that sold a traditional Chinese nutritional supplement the manufacturer claims can treat “100 diseases” was shut down on Wednesday after a 72-year-old man died after taking a dose, officials said Thursday.
Ly Vannak, chief of the pharmaceutical office at the provincial health department, said the elderly man, whom she declined to name, died after ingesting the liquid supplement on Tuesday after purchasing it from the Thai-owned Join & Coin Corporation pharmacy in Kokchak commune.
It is unclear whether the man—who had been suffering from hemorrhoids—died as a direct result of taking the supplement, she said.
“We got a report from local authorities that a 72-year-old man died in Chi Kreng district. He used nutrients from [Join & Coin], so I ordered health officials to investigate,” Ms. Vannak said, adding that following the probe, the pharmacy was shut down for selling the supplement to the man without a license.
“Yesterday we joined together with police to check that pharmacy. We decided to shut it down because it also has no license from the health department,” she said.
“[The manufacturer] claims their nutrients can treat many diseases, but we do not believe it. I think any medicine that claims it can treat 100 diseases is exaggerating,” she added.
Oum Amra, deputy Siem Reap provincial police chief, said that an employee of the pharmacy, Ven Chanthrea, 24, was briefly detained on Wednesday, but was released after questioning. He said officers were searching for the pharmacy’s owner, who they believe is not in the country.
“We cannot let them operate anymore because it’s very dangerous—they claim [the supplement] can treat 100 diseases. This is not your average story because this involves the people’s health,” he added.
Representatives of Join & Coin could not be reached for comment.