Monster Beverage Corp. (MNST)’s energy drinks have been cited in the deaths of five people in the past year, according to incident reports that doctors and companies submit to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The reports said the victims consumed Monster drinks prior to their deaths, Shelly Burgess, an FDA spokeswoman, said today in a phone interview. The FDA said the incidents, which are voluntarily reported, are considered to be allegations, and no conclusion is drawn until an investigation is completed. Shares of Corona, California-based Monster fell the most since 2008.
The FDA reports are being used by parents in Maryland who sued Monster last week, claiming the drinks led to caffeine toxicity that killed their 14-year-old daughter. Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, is asking the FDA to consider caffeine limits on energy drinks after emergency room visits involving such products jumped 10-fold from 2005 through 2009.
“FDA continues to evaluate the emerging science on a variety of ingredients, including caffeine,” Burgess said in an earlier e-mail.
The five death reports, and a sixth in 2009, were among 37 adverse reaction reports since 2004 that mentioned Monster drinks, according to a log of incidents that health professionals, companies and the public voluntarily recorded with the FDA. The agency has said it’s working on draft guidelines that would ensure energy drinks are safe.