PR Woes Drain Energy from Power Drink

Monster Energy

Monster Energy. Photo by:

The FDA will now require energy drinks to be sold as a beverage, not a dietary supplement, after 13 deaths and a letter from 18 doctors and researchers.

For more than a decade, drinks like Monster Energy and Five-Hour Energy capitalized on up to $7 billion a year using the label, “dietary supplement.” A dietary supplement is defined as, “a product that is intended to supplement the diet . . . ,” according to the United States Library of Medicine.

Evidence shows the product is dangerous, and soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks are marketed to children.

In 2011, the death of 14-year-old Anais Fournier decreased Monster Energy’s stock by more than 40 percent. Monster Energy denied accusations for Fournier’s death, who died after consuming two 24-ounce cans of Monster Energy. A state medical examiner found the cause of death to be caffeine toxicity. Monster Energy refused to take blame because a blood report wasn’t conducted.

Original label used by Monster Energy for more than a decade. Photo courtesy of New York Times.

Original label used by Monster Energy for more than a decade. 

Monster Energy revised label. Photo courtesy of New York Times.

Monster Energy revised label.










The negative press continued as CBS News reported, “. . . energy drinks may increase blood pressure and change the heart’s rhythm.”

The issue represents legal vs. ethical decision-making. Legally, ingredients of the beverage require no change, only labeling. Ethically, the brands should consider altering the ingredients because of the deaths.

Do you think energy drinks should take ownership for the teens’ deaths? Is government regulation on energy drinks necessary? 


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1 Response to PR Woes Drain Energy from Power Drink

  1. Kelsey Pfeffer says:

    I wonder if what is happening right now in the media surrounding energy drinks is the same as what happened with cigarettes in the 1960s. Almost everyone knows that energy drinks aren’t good for you, and that they aren’t a “dietary supplement,” but when they’re handed out free on college campuses, and are a “safe” alternative to alcoholic beverages when you’re a designated driver, so why would we turn them down? However, when people, especially young people, are dying from drinking these beverages it would make sense that something has to change. I don’t understand how the only change the FDA can make is to change the label on the back of the bottle. Bottom line, they need to make changes to make these beverages safe.

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