In July 2014, 5-Hour Energy maker Living Essentials LLC became the target of multi-state lawsuits filed by state attorneys general from Oregon, Washington and Vermont. The complaints allege that several of the claims made in the company’s ubiquitous advertisements are false. Specifically targeted were claims that 5-Hour Energy draws its effectiveness from a unique “Energy Blend” that includes B vitamins and amino acids, that users experience “no crash later,” that doctors recommend 5-Hour Energy and that the product is safe for teens. (Washington v. Living Essentials LLC [King Cnty. Super. Ct. July 17, 2014].)
Some of the 5-Hour Energy ads claimed to be backed up by surveys. In one memorable ad, a spokesperson sits next to a large stack of papers and touts the results of one responded to by 3,000 doctors that purportedly found “over 73 percent who reviewed 5-Hour Energy said they would recommend a low-calorie energy supplement to their healthy patients who use energy supplements.” After a yearlong investigation by the Washington, Oregon and Vermont attorneys general, which included a review of the survey, the false advertising lawsuit was filed.
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