The FDA has received numerous adverse event reports allegedly related to consumption of Monster Energy drinks, including five deaths and multiple reported instances of illness, injury and hospitalizations. The alleged wrongful death of a 14-year-old Maryland girl from cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity after drinking two 24-ounce servings of Monster Energy is the subject of high-profile private litigation currently pending against the company.
Emergency room visits related to energy drink consumption have spiked dramatically in recent years, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Drug Abuse Warning Network, which reported a nearly 14-fold increase in medical events for which emergency invention was sought --from 1,494 instances in 2005, to 20,783 in 2011.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, which represents more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 North American colleges and universities, currently prohibits its member institutions from distributing caffeinated energy drinks to student-athletes. The NCAA has concluded that energy drinks “pose a health and safety risk for student-athletes,” and “can have adverse health consequences if consumed before or during strenuous exercise.” Pediatric studies have similarly found that the cardiovascular effects “of heavy caffeine use can be a significant source of morbidity in athletes,” citing new-onset seizures, hypertension, heart palpitations, and diuretic effects that can “lead to dehydration in athletes who do not drink enough fluids to compensate.”
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Other actionable marketing tactics detailed in this latest lawsuit include the company’s “Monster Energy Drink Player of the Game” series, which photographs high school athletes holding twin fourpacks--"eight 16-ounce cans, containing 128 ounces of highly-caffeinated Monster products. At 10 mg of caffeine per ounce, the photos feature high school athletes, including minors, displaying more than 12-times the generally recommended daily maximum of caffeine for adolescents.