If their own products don’t do the job, a pile of lawsuits should be enough of an afternoon pick-me-up for the makers of 5-hour Energy.
Oregon, Washington and Vermont sued Living Essentials, which markets 5-hour Energy, and parent company Innovation Ventures, on Thursday for deceptive and misleading advertising, according to Reuters, and said that similar suits from other states will follow.
The suits question the product’s marketed sources of energy, alertness and focus. The company states that these effects are derived from a blend of ingredients, but the suit alleges that these effects are a result of caffeine consumption alone. The suits also question if 5-hour Energy is appropriate for adolescents aged 12 years and older.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, no stranger to targeting 5-hour Energy, filed the suit in Multnomah County Circuit Court in Portland. At the end of December, in response to marketing claims, Rosenblum asked the company to prove that doctors recommend the product and that users don’t experience a post-caffeine crash.
“This lawsuit is about requiring truth in advertising,” Rosenblum said in a statement. “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 three states seek a permanent injunction that would prohibit the company’s allegedly deceptive advertising, along with civil penalties and restitution to customers.
A 5-hour Energy representative said the Oregon suit is “grasping at straws” and is a form of “civil intimidation,” according to Reuters.
In January, Northridge, Calif.-based Medicus Research conducted a study on the product’s efficacy and found that it sharpens cognitive function for six hours. The cross-over study was randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled.