In the last three years, there have been three deaths reported after individuals consumed an energy drink, Monster. The energy drink is not proven to be a cause of death. A 14-year-old girl from Maryland consumed the drink two days in a row and died afterward due to a heart arrhythmia. The teen’s mother filed a lawsuit against Monster, which changed its name from Hansen Natural. They allege the company did not warn customers about the risks of drinking them, however a spokesperson from Monster said the drinks are safe and they are “unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks.”A spokesperson for the Food and Drug Administration said they receiving information regarding five more deaths including a nonfatal heart attack, along with other symptoms such as vomiting, tremors, pain and abnormal heart rates between 2004 and this June. The reports do not mention if alcohol or drugs were involved in any of the incidents.
There may be questions of regulating and controlling energy drinks after these reports were released by the FDA. An FDA spokesperson said it is the job of the energy drink company to investigate and monitor adverse effects. A Monster spokesperson said they did not get copies of the incident filings from the FDA about the deaths besides the one involving the Maryland teen. The Monster line of products includes Monster Rehab, Assault, and Heavy Metal. Their label says they aren’t recommended for children under 12 and those sensitive to caffeine. Companies do not need to disclose how much caffeine is in their drinks, according to current FDA regulation. Caffeine is especially dangerous for those with heart problems. The can of Monster the Maryland teen drank contained 240 milligrams. Her lawsuit says she died due to “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity.” The teen also had Ehlers-Danos syndrome, which effects connective tissue in the body. A Senator urged the FDA to enforce caffeine levels in energy drinks in a letter sent in April. FDA officials responded there was not enough evidence to take any action, and that they hadn’t received any medical reports relating to the death of the teenager, according to news reports.
As a personal injury lawyer, I look forward to hearing more about this case and whether or not the FDA takes any steps to regulating caffeine levels in energy drinks. My thoughts go out to those harmed by any product deemed unsafe by the FDA.