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Advocates call for FDA crackdown on energy drinks

Heart problems have been linked to the consumption of energy drinks. Victims, or next-of-kin on their behalf, may want to call one of the experienced product liability attorneys at Reich & Binstock for free evaluation of legal options.

Amid the filing of product liability lawsuits against the makers of energy drinks, a consumer group has urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to take several regulatory and empirical safety precautions to protect those who consume these beverages.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, in a June 25 letter to physician and FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, urged the federal agency to implement the following measures:

•· Issue a public health warning to discourage people, especially those under 18, from consuming energy drinks and suggest to states and localities that they bar the sale of energy drinks to people under 18.

•· Initiate a rulemaking to require that all beverages consumed in a soda-like manner, including energy drinks, comply with the same regulations that limit caffeine in "cola-type beverages" (0.02 percent, or 71 milligrams per 12 ounces.

•· Initiate a rulemaking to require warning labels on energy drinks to alert consumers of the possible risk of heart attack, convulsion, and other adverse reactions.

•· Initiate a thorough and independent study of the safety of these ingredients, both alone and in combination with each other in formulations typical of energy drinks.

The center based its call to action on adverse event reports submitted to the FDA. In a media statement dated the same day the letter was sent, the center wrote, "Documents obtained from the Food and Drug Administration show that since late 2012, 17 previously unreported deaths have been linked to the controversial caffeinated beverages known as energy drinks. According to adverse event reports collected by the agency since 2004, a total of 34 deaths have now been linked to energy drinks. Of those, 22 deaths have been linked to 5-Hour Energy, 11 deaths have been linked to Monster, and one death, a first, has been linked to Rockstar."

The center admitted, "The reports do not prove that energy drinks actually caused the deaths," a possible relationship that the FDA is investigating.

Energy drink lawsuits have been filed against beverage manufacturers. One of the more notable involved a mother whose 19-year-old son died of a cardiac arrhythmia. The lawsuit, which she filed in 2013, alleged that her son died from habitually drinking Monster.

American Medical Association Board Member Dr. Alexander Ding made the following statement about a year ago, "Energy drinks contain massive and excessive amounts of caffeine that may lead to a host of health problems in young people, including heart problems, and banning companies from marketing these products to adolescents is a common sense action that we can take to protect the health of American kids."

Reich & Binstock attorneys, at no charge, will examine the circumstances of a heart ailment sufferer who consumed energy drinks. With 30 years of experience, Reich & Binstock will fight hard for the rights of the victim. Call toll-free. One may also visit the law firm's website and send an electronic request for a free consultation.

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