On October 21st, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its investigation into Monster Energy Drink after five deaths were reported in connection to drinking the highly caffeinated beverage. Stocks for the company fell over 14 percent after the news broke. Most recently the family of a 14 year old girl sued the company after their daughter died in connection with a heart condition within a 24 hour period of drinking the beverage. The Fournier family alleges that the cardiac arythmia resulting in her death was brought on by caffeine toxicity from consuming 480 milligrams in two cans. Monster maintains that the beverage is not implicated in Fournier’s death or the other reports. The FDA confirms that it has received reports of five deaths and one heart attack related to the caffeine in the beverages since 2009.
However, the reports themselves do not indicate responsibility or risk from drinking the product. Rather, the manufacturer is responsible for providing information in the case to facilitate a further investigation to determine the safety of the beverage. U.S. Senators of Illinois and Connecticut have asked the FDA to look into the drinks’ effects on children, while the NY attorney general subpoenaed Monster, PepsiCo (maker of Amp), and Living Essentials (maker of 5 hour Energy) for records on marketing and advertising. Monster has the highest sales by volume coming in at 39%, while Redbull has the highest share of revenue. After the downgrade in share prices, following the FDA announcement, Monster shares underwent a 42% decline since June, officially moving into the territory of under-perform while the case is under investigation.