AGs Take Aim at Leading Energy-Shot Brand
5-hour Energy vows to fight false-advertising claims
SALEM, Ore. -- Three states filed lawsuits against the parent companies of 5-hour Energy this week--and several others are expected to follow suit in coming weeks--claiming the companies repeatedly violated state laws "by making deceptive and misleading claims about their 5-hour Energy products."
The lawsuits target allegedly misleading claims that the product will not cause consumers to experience a "crash" after using the energy shot. It also focuses on claims that the product has been recommended by doctors in a way that it has not and that the product is appropriate for adolescents age 12 years and older.
“This lawsuit is about requiring truth in advertising,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. “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 lawsuits allege that the company used print, television, Internet and radio advertising to claim that 5-hour Energy contains a unique blend of ingredients that provide consumers with energy, alertness and focus, when in reality the only ingredient that provides any effect is the concentrated dose of caffeine.
In a statement, Michigan-based manufacturer Living Essentials and its parent company Innovation Ventures, said the lawsuits amount to intimidation and bullying. They companies also vowed to fight.
“When companies are being bullied by someone in a position of power, these companies roll over, pay the ransom and move on. We’re not doing that," the company stated. "The attorneys general are grasping at straws, and we will fight to defend ourselves against civil intimidation. The suits allege that the only ingredient in 5-hour Energy that has any effect is the caffeine. If so, are the attorneys general going to sue Starbucks for selling coffee?”
The lawsuit estimates that 5-hour Energy is sold at over 100,000 retail locations through the United States. Living Essentials said it sells about 9 million bottles of 5-hour Energy each week.