Oregon Sues 5-hour Energy's Ad-Meisters
(CN) - Oregon's attorney general claims in court that the companies behind 5-hour Energy drinks ad campaigns "steadfastly refused" her demand for information about their ads for the potentially dangerous drink.
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sued Innovation Ventures, Living Essentials, and Microdose Sales, in Multnomah County Court.
Rosenblum seeks enforcement of her Civil Investigative Demand for information under Oregon's Unlawful Trade Practices Act. She claims the information the defendants did provide was redacted - that they failed and refused to comply with her demand.
All three defendants are privately held LLCs working out of Farmington Hills, Mich. Living Essentials markets and sells the caffeine-laced drinks, Innovation Ventures is a holding company that controls Living Essentials, and Microdose Sales is a sales company that "solicits doctors and health care professionals about pharmaceutical drugs and other products, including 5-hour Energy," according to the lawsuit.
The attorney general says: "The health effects of 5-hour Energy's ingredients, including tyrosine and phenylalanine when combined with caffeine, are not known. 5-hour Energy has been the subject of 92 adverse incident reports from the Center for Food Safety Adverse Event Reporting System (CAERS), a U.S. Food and Drug Administration database of events or problems allegedly related to specific products. Questions about the safety of 5-hour Energy have prompted investigations by the FDA and members of Congress." (Citations omitted.)
Rosenblum says she has "reason to believe that respondents have made misleading statements regarding 5-hour Energy in three issue areas: (1) whether users experience 'no crash' when using the product; (2) a 'Doctors Recommend' advertising campaign; and (3) the product's suitability for children, all potentially in violation of ... the UTPA [Unlawful Trade Practices Act]."
The "Doctors Recommend" campaign "implies that 73 percent of 3,000 doctors surveyed nationwide recommended 5-hour Energy by name, when in reality that is not the case," the attorney general says.
In June this year the American Medical Association called for a ban on marketing stimulant drinks to people younger than 18, "until possible adverse health effects on this demographic can be assessed," the attorney general says. "Respondents have placed a statement on every bottle of 5-hour Energy stating 'Do not take if you are pregnant or nursing, or under 12 years of age' or similar language, implying that the product is suitable for adolescents aged 12-18."
Rosenblum wants the defendants ordered to respond to her civil investigative demand, with unredacted documents, a request which the defendants have "steadfastly refused."