In a report by the New York Times, 5-Hour Energy, distributed by Living Essentials, has been mentioned in 90 filings with the Food and Drug Administration since 2009. Of those filings, more than 30 have involved life-threatening heart attacks and convulsions. The FDA has "received reports of 13 deaths...that cited the possible involvement of 5-Hour Energy," according to the Times.
Facing scrutiny from the both the media and consumers, 5-Hour Energy is now in serious PR crisis mode. In a statement the company said, “Living Essentials LLC, distributor of 5-Hour Energy, takes reports of any potential adverse event tied to our products very seriously. We fully comply with all of our reporting requirements.”
In a PR crisis, particularly one involving the health and well-being of consumers, transparency should be a given. A quick glance to both the Twitter and Facebook accounts of 5-Hour Energy shows no acknowledgement of the Times report. And on 5-Hour Energy’s website, the company’s statement appears buried behind a wall of product promotions and sales.
As the story gains momentum on social media, 5-Hour Energy would do well to boost its own energy and engagement and take a lead role in the story's development.
Follow Jamar Hudson: @jamarhudson