5-Hour Energy, a popular 2-ounce energy shot manufactured by Living Essentials, is under close watch by the federal government, after the Food and Drug Administration received numerous reports potentially associating the company with the cause of 13 deaths over the span of four years.
The reports obtained by the federal government will not hold 5-Hour Energy culpable until all aspects and factors of the deaths are taken into account.
In a statement by the FDA obtained by India-West through a spokesperson, the federal agency noted that it is investigating “reports of illness, injury or death of people who took products marketed under the label 5-Hour Energy.”
“The existence of an adverse event report does not necessarily mean that the product identified in the report actually caused the adverse event. FDA assesses the relationship, if any, between a product or ingredient and the reported adverse event,” the FDA statement added.
The news on 5-Hour Energy follows the FDA's disclosure last month that it is investigating reports of five deaths that may be related to Monster Beverage's namesake drinks, according to a report in the New York Daily News.
In an interview with CBS news correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook Nov. 15, 5-Hour Energy founder and CEO Manoj Bhargava defended his company's product and denied claims that the product was linked to 13 deaths.
“I would not sell a product that my family wouldn't use,” the Indian American entrepreneur told LaPook.
Bhargava was added this year to Forbes Magazine's billionaires list, and has a net worth of nearly $4 billion.
The New York Times initially reported that for the past four years, the company was mentioned in 90 FDA filings, “including more than 30 that involved serious or life-threatening injuries like heart attacks, convulsions, and in one case, a spontaneous abortion.”
In recent months, general investigations into energy drink companies like Monster Energy and PepsiCo were conducted by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman. The purpose of the investigation was to find out “whether the companies violated federal law in promoting the drinks as dietary supplements rather than as foods, which are regulated more strictly,” reported The Times.
Consumer Reports further reported on the lack of accuracy when it comes to the correct amount of caffeine labeled on energy drink products in the market.
Last month, Consumer Reports published a study revealing that “11 of the 27 top-selling energy drinks in the United States do not specify the amount of caffeine in their beverages.”
On Nov. 15, India-West obtained a statement from 5-Hour Energy that denied the recent media reports.
“Living Essentials, LLC is unaware of any deaths proven to have been caused by the consumption of 5-hour ENERGY®.”
According to 5-Hour Energy's Web site, the product “contains about as much caffeine as a half cup of decaffeinated coffee,” contains four calories and is sugar-free.
India-West is currently on a waiting list, along with other reporters, who wish to speak to Bhargava.
In a Fox News report, Bhargava vehemently denied any suggestion that his company's popular drink is responsible for 13 deaths.
The idea that the drink is to blame for killing anyone is like comparing "drinking a bottle of water today, and then thousands of people died the next day; that somehow it's linked," said Bhargava. "It's just false."
With reference to the reports that were first detailed by The Times Nov. 14, Bhargava told Fox News he would not expect this from the Times.
"They should not be making this mistake," Bhargava told Fox News, adding that the people making these claims were "just after some money."