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U.S. Wholesale's complaint is similar to a prior complaint filed against Living Essentials in April 2015 in the Northern District of California, by two wholesalers alleging secondary-line Robinson-Patman price discrimination against Living Essentials for giving preferential pricing for the energy drink to larger companies such as the large retailer. 2 The Northern District of California denied class certification, holding that the plaintiff wholesalers' class definitions were too vague and that the "individualized proof of harm," required in Robinson-Patman secondary-line claim, created a bar to class certification. Following the denial of class certification, the case was dismissed with prejudice pursuant to a joint stipulation by the parties.




buy 5 hour energy in bulk



Representatives for the wholesalers testified that their businesses have steadily lost sales of 5-Hour Energy as their customers turn to the large retailer for cheaper prices, because they were never offered a manufacturer rebate or any other discount that would have enabled them to offer the energy drinks at a lower price.


These are the questions on our minds this week following another U.S. Food and Drug Administration missive on deaths and hospitalizations as reported by energy drink manufacturers. Those specifically cited in this week's report (PDF) include Monster and Rockstar energy drinks as well as 5-hour Energy "shots" that are ubiquitous throughout US convenience stores and pharmacies.


These 5-hour Energy products are no stranger to Forbes: Staff Writer Clare O'Connor had this article and sidebar in the February 27, 2012 issue of the magazine. O'Connor reported that 5-hour Energy accounts for a whopping 90% of the national energy shot market.


The main number being batted around -- beginning with The New York Times article by Barry Meier -- is that 5-hour Energy has been cited in reports of 13 deaths; that is, 13 people who died had ingested 5-hour Energy drink at some time prior to their passing. The first death was reported on December 17, 2009.


Monster and Rockstar are brightly-labeled beverages that contain 160 to 175 milligrams of caffeine in drink sizes ranging from 5 to 16 fluid ounces. That's about three-to-five times the amount of caffeine in 12-ounce serving of a typical mass-marketed soda. The more concentrated 5-hour Energy doesn't list its caffeine content but Consumer Reports recently determined that it contains 215 milligrams of caffeine per 2 fl. oz. bottle (the "extra strength" only contains a bit more at 242 milligrams.).


Well, it depends on where you get your coffee. One of the most comprehensive sources for caffeine content of beverages is this database at energyfiend.com. There you'll see that a large McDonald's coffee (16-ounce) has 145 milligrams of caffeine, just a bit less than the same as in a typical regular Rockstar or Monster product. But if you are a Starbucks fan, a 16-ounce serving (Grande) of their regular brewed coffee (not espresso-based) there can average 330 milligrams of caffeine but range from 259 to a whopping 564! These are Starbucks' own reported values, levels that led energyfiend.com to list this product's caffeine content as "Extreme."


But think about this: that high end for the "Extreme" content of Starbucks is roughly the same as only two small bottles of 5-hour Energy, perhaps telling us how deceivingly potent these "shots" can be.


This is the question that FDA scientists are trying to assess. The major problem is that these reports don't list other very important information such as age, weight, pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, or any indication of drugs or dietary supplements that might have contributed to these adverse reactions. For example, younger (and smaller) people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine and might also be taking other substances that could make the energy drink deadly.


We need to remember that caffeine is a drug, capable of providing us with mental alertness but at higher doses can make us anxious, shaky, and have gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea. In energy drinks caffeine is regulated as a food additive but its drug status is complicated by the fact that it occurs naturally in foods such as coffee and chocolate. Caffeine was previously classified by the FDA as an additive "Generally Recognized As Safe" (or GRAS) at levels commonly used since 1958.


But if these adverse reactions and deaths are shown to be directly due to the energy products, remember that caffeine might not be the culprit in all cases. Phenylalanine could causes some of the same problems in phenylketonurics, particularly seizures and convulsions.


Well, the majority of cases in the current FDA report are with 5-hour Energy. But we don't know if this relates simply to the tremendous sales numbers of the shots relative to the energy drinks. The concentrated versions of the shots also make it easier for one to take large doses of caffeine without the bulk of all that other liquid in the drinks. And not discussed in many stories is that the old-time caffeine pills we took in college in the 1980s such as No-Doz are now sold in an extra-strength version that contains 200 milligrams per pill, almost as much as a 5-hour Energy shot. (Imagine popping a No-Doz and washing it down with a Monster.)


It's entirely possible that 5-hour Energy might be more dangerous than Monster or Rockstar. A local internist told me that the larger volume of energy drinks might offset the dehydration and electrolyte losses (especially potassium) normally caused by caffeine.


First, Starbucks coffee doesn't contain phenylalanine. I suspect that some of the problems reported with the energy drinks are not due to the caffeine but are rather cases where phenylketonurics have ingested high concentrations of phenylalanine (again, information that would have been useful in the FDA report).


Second, Starbucks drinkers are likely to be more tolerant to the effects of caffeine than a 115-lb, 15-year-old kid drinking a couple of energy drinks for the first time. The Starbucks drinker is also more likely to be comfortable with the effects of caffeine. I expect to get anxious and jittery if I drink too much coffee but that freaked me out a bit when I started drinking coffee late in high school.


Another consideration relates to what else is being taken by people drinking any high-caffeine product. An increasing concern among neuroscientists is that caffeine seems to increase the lethality of drugs like ecstasy (X, MDMA), amphetamine, and methamphetamine in rats given caffeine doses in the range of human consumption (reviewed here). Since energy drinks are primarily targeted toward teens and young adults, the likelihood of caffeine and illicit drug use might be higher than in the Starbucks-drinking adult (perhaps, but not always). If you choose to use MDMA, amphetamine, or meth, STAY AWAY FROM ENERGY BEVERAGES.


The true risks of energy shots and energy drinks can't be fully evaluated if we don't have all the information about people who've died or experienced other adverse effects. We don't know if they already had heart rhythm problems, were recreational drug users, or if they were taking anything else that might predispose one to these adverse reactions. For example, the antidepressant Wellbutrin (bupropion) can cause seizures in some individuals. Consuming energy drinks while on Wellbutrin might not be a very good idea.


In addition, energy drinks are often mixed with alcoholic drinks. We have no information on the blood alcohol levels in the cases listed in this FDA report. Caffeine makes people feel less drunk but does absolutely nothing to change the actual blood alcohol level. It's possible to get up to near-lethal blood alcohol concentrations with high-caffeine drinks. That's why Four Loko had to take the caffeine out of their 12%(!) alcohol beverage two years ago. (And I certainly worry about the mega-high caffeine in some products such as 5150 that are designed to make any drink high in caffeine).


In fact, ask yourself why you'd want to drink some of these products. Are you trying to stay awake while working or studying late or driving long hours? Can you take some time to get some sleep instead of exposing yourself to high caffeine levels?


On Monday, November 29th, a federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (N.D. Cal.) found Joseph and Adriana Shayota guilty of manufacturing and selling millions of counterfeit bottles 5-hour ENERGY. They were kingpins in a criminal ring of 11 people charged with the counterfeiting. Eight of the conspirators have already plead guilty and one is a fugitive. Their clandestine factory was located in San Diego, and employed more than 50 workers working two shifts per day. They manufactured about 4.3 million counterfeits, all of which were either consumed or seized by 2012.


According to court documents, the case goes back to 2009, when California resident Joseph Shayota approached Living Essentials, the company which manufactures the famous 5-hour ENERGY supplement, to purchase 5-hour ENERGY bottles with Spanish-language packaging for resale in Mexico. Because the 5-hour ENERGY bottles were not for sale in the U.S., Living Essentials sold the product to Shayota at a 40 percent discount. Immediately, Shayota tried to divert the product into the U.S. marketplace but failed because retailers did not want to buy the Spanish-language packaging version of the product.


To get around this problem, Shayota concocted a scheme to repackage the 5-hour ENERGY bottles with counterfeit English-language packaging. Authentic labels were removed from the drink bottles and counterfeit labels were shrink-wrapped in their place to achieve the authentic look of domestic 5-hour ENERGY packaging. Lot codes and expiration dates were also removed from the bottles using solvent and false lot codes and expiration dates were applied to the bottles with the use of an industrial printer. The bottles were finally packaged in counterfeit display boxes for sale to retailers. 350,000 bottles of 5-hour ENERGY were repackaged in this way and then sold in the U.S. market at a 15 percent discount from what Living Essentials charged for the authentic product. Shayota and other members of the conspiracy sold off the remainder of its original stock of repackaged 5-hour ENERGY bottles by December 2011. 041b061a72


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