A class action lawsuit filed against the makers of Bang energy drinks claims that independent testing found almost none of the ingredients advertised in ads or on the cans themselves.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Kuumba Madison in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on October 15, naming Vital Pharmaceuticals, Inc., doing business as VPX Sports, as the defendant. It seeks class action status to pursue damages on behalf of all purchasers of Bang energy drinks.
According to the lawsuit, advertisements for Bang products are misleading, because they claim it contains “potent” levels of creatine, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and coenzyme Q10.
However, Madison’s lawsuit indicates that testing commissioned by his attorney revealed that there was no creatine to be found in Bang. The same testing found absolutely no Coenzyme Q10, and only .09 grams of one branched chain amino acid; Leucine.
“Plaintiff and the Classes purchased and consumed the Products because they believed, based on the misleading product label and the information on Defendant’s website, and identical misleading information listed on vitaminshoppe.com and other retailers’ websites that the Products contained the ingredients stated on the Products’ labeling and moreover that the Products contained them in dosages that were ‘POTENT’ as claimed both on the front of the Products’ label, as well as on the back,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff and Class Members were, in fact, misled by Defendant’s representations regarding the true nature of the Products’ ingredients, efficacy, and value.”
The Bang energy drink lawsuit indicates that neither the plaintiff nor the other class members would have purchased, or paid as much for, the products had they known they did not contain the ingredients claimed in ads and on the cans themselves.
The class action lawsuit presents claims that Bang energy drinks violate California’s unfair competition law, the state’s false advertising laws, and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, and also includes claims of breach of warranty, and breach of express warranty.
The lawsuit comes at a time of heightened concern over the safety of energy drinks and an ongoing debate about whether companies should be forced to reveal their ingredients. Many are labeled as dietary supplements, which means they do not have to provide a nutritional label or ingredient list.
Energy Drink Health Concerns
Although products like Monster Energy, Red Bull, Rockstar and other beverages have become very popular among teens and young adults in recent years, a number of studies have found that consumption of only a couple energy drinks over a several week period can cause increased blood pressure and heart arrhythmia, which can cause long-term heart problems.
In March 2017, a study conduced by Australian researchers linked caffeinated energy drinks to heart problems that can cause rapid, irregular heartbeats in some consumers. The effects could result in fainting, seizures and even sudden death, the researchers warned.
A study published in April 2017 in the Journal of the American Heart Association indicated that those who consumed energy drinks experienced abnormal heart rhythms and prolonged elevated blood pressure, saying that the risks of energy drinks were different than just consuming caffeine alone.
According to the findings, two hours after consuming the drinks, those who were given the energy drink showed changes in the QT intervals of the heart, which affects the heart’s rhythm. Those changes were not seen in caffeine drinkers.
In March 2016, the American Heart Association warned that the overuse of energy drinks could cause increased heart problems including heart attacks, sudden cardiac arrest and other potentially life-threatening complications.
Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in November 2015, found that consuming just one can of Rockstar energy drink led to an increased risk of heart problems and high blood pressure among young, healthy adults.
The FDA is currently investigating health concerns surrounding the drinks, after a number of adverse event reports were submitted in recent years connecting energy drinks to severe injuries and deaths.
According to information released in 2012, at least 37 adverse event reports had been received by the FDA involving health problems from Monster Energy drinks, including at least six deaths.
Amid aggressive marketing by the manufacturers, energy drink sales increased 240% between 2004 and 2009, and the number of caffeine overdose emergency room visits increased from 1,128 in 2005 to 16,055 in 2008. Approximately 56% of those visits involved individuals between the ages of 12 and 25 years.
In recent years, a number of energy drink lawsuits have been filed on behalf of otherwise healthy young adults who suffered sudden heart problems within hours after drinking the beverages, alleging that the manufacturers placed their desire for profits before the safety of consumers.