The makers of the popular 5-Hour Energy drink are being sued by the attorneys general in Oregon and Washington, accused of making deceptive and misleading claims about their products.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenbaum filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that Living Essentials and Innovation Ventures, the two companies that make 5-Hour Energy products, advertised their product as providing “energy, alertness, and focus, when in reality the only ingredient that provides any effect is the concentrated dose of caffeine."
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“This lawsuit is about requiring truth in advertising,” Rosenblum said in a news release
. “Plainly and simply, in Oregon you cannot promote a product as being effective if you don’t have sufficient evidence to back up your advertising claims.”
The lawsuit also said that it is misleading to claim the product does not cause consumers to experience a “crash,” and also said that claims the product has been recommended by doctors are not accurate, as is information that it is appropriate for adolescents age 12 and older.
WXYZ reported Washington AG Bob Ferguson filed a similar lawsuit Thursday
, and an Oregon Department of Justice spokesperson said other states are expected to do so as well.
Oregon has asked for the company to pay penalties and also refund to all consumers who bought a decaffeinated version of the 5-Hour Energy drinks, which the lawsuit said doesn’t work, WXYZ said.
Melissa Skabich, a spokesperson for 5-Hour Energy, said the company will fight what she called civil intimidation.
"When companies are being bullied by someone in a position of power, these companies roll over, pay the ransom, and move on," Skabich said in a statement. "We're not doing that."
WXYZ said Rosenblum has been seeking evidence from the company for more than a year, wanting to examine redacted information on how the products work.
The FDA has received numerous reports from 2008 to 2012 about health problems associated with energy drinks, but concluded in 2012 that the drinks couldn’t be directly correlated to illness and even deaths of some people because it wasn’t clear what other health problems or medications might be pertinent.
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