By: Irvin Jackson | Published: January 8th, 2014
Several states attorneys general say the makers of 5-Hour Energy are withholding vital information that is necessary for an ongoing investigation into whether the popular energy shots are safe.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a petition last month in Multnomah County Circuit Court calling for an order that would force Living Essentials, LLC, the marketer of 5-Hour Energy, to hand over complete documents that the attorney general’s office has been requested since January 2013. The energy drink maker countered days later by asking another judge to set the demand aside.
The documents are part of a 33-state investigation into the safety and marketing claims of 5-Hour Energy. According to Rosenblum, the company has only handed over redacted documents that exclude vital information relevant to the investigation.
The makers of 5 Hour Energy claims that the only data it has failed to provide is proprietary information regarding the amounts of certain ingredients contained in the products, arguing that release of that information could benefit competitors. Rosenblum says the company does not have that option in the face of a multi-state investigation.
5-Hour Energy is a popular energy drink distributed by Innovation Ventures, LLC, which does business as Living Essentials. The product is categorized as a dietary supplement, meaning that the manufacturer has been able to avoid FDA regulation and sell the product without disclosing details on what is contained in the energy drink shot.
Marketing statements made by the manufacturer indicate that 5 Hour Energy provides “hours of energy now – no crash later,” suggesting that users will not experience the sudden drop in energy that is typically associated with other high-caffeine energy drink products. According to National Advertising Division (NAD), part of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, there is data that disproves the claim, which is at least five years old.
There are currently at least nine 5 Hour Energy lawsuits filed against Living Essentials filed in eight U.S. District Courts. All of the complaints involve similar allegations that Living Essentials practiced deceptive and unlawful advertising and marketing of 5-Hour Energy.
The energy drink industry has come under increased scrutiny over the past year, as concerns mount about the potential health risks associated with energy drink products and various marketing claims that encourage young users to consume large quantities of the highly caffeinated beverages.
According to information released by the FDA, there have been at least 13 deaths linked to 5 Hour Energy Shots.