FDA Reviewing Reports of Deaths Associated with Energy Drink

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating reports that five people may have died over the past three years after consuming Monster Energy drinks, a high-caffeine beverage, according to a report in The New York Times. Monster Energy is among a number of high-caffeine beverages that companies are aggressively marketing to teenagers and young adults.

Energy drinks are flavored beverages sold in grocery stores and convenience stores that contain high amounts of caffeine and often other stimulants that act on the cardiovascular system and central nervous system. Last year, the U.S. Drug Abuse Warning Network, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, noted in a report a tenfold increase in emergency room visits between 2005 and 2009 involving patients who had consumed energy drinks. Approximately half of the energy drink-related ER visits made by patients aged 18 to 25 involved combinations of energy drinks with alcohol or drugs.

The adverse event reports received by the FDA involving Monster Energy are not proof of a connection between the drinks and the deaths and do not detail whether other factors were involved, such as drugs or alcohol. Yet the number of reports the FDA receives about any given product it regulates typically understates the actual number of problems.

Monster Energy drink is made by a publicly traded company based in Corona, California, known as Monster Beverage and previously known as Hansen Natural. A spokeswoman for the company is quoted in The New York Times’ article as saying the product is safe and the company is unaware of any deaths associated with it.

Shelly Burgess, a spokesman for the FDA, said in the article that the agency had received reports of five deaths with possible links to the drink and a report of a non-fatal heart attack. Other incident reports dating back to 2004 described other adverse side effects such as abdominal pain, tremors and abnormal heart rate. She said that it is the responsibility of energy drink manufacturers to investigate reports of death or injuries associated with their products. Burgess said the FDA was still looking into the cases, but had yet to establish a link between the deaths and the drink.

Manufacturers of foods and drugs do have a legal responsibility to make and market products that are safe when used as intended. They also have a duty to warn of known dangers. They should be held accountable when they put profits ahead of consumer safety.

The lawyers of The Driscoll Firm, LLC, are committed to helping people who have been harmed by unsafe products. We have helped thousands of clients nationwide receive full and fair compensation from manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers whose products cause harm. If you suspect that you or a loved one has been harmed by an unsafe product, contact us at 314-932-3232 or use our online contact form for a free case review.

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