By Kristin Jones
Monster Beverage Corp. (MNST) defended the safety of its products, a day after the Food and Drug Administration said it is investigating reports that five people may have died after drinking the company's caffeine-packed drinks.
The FDA has cautioned there is no evidence linking the deaths to the beverage.
One of the five was Anais Fournier, a 14-year-old from Maryland who died from cardiac arrest in December after allegedly drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster within 24 hours. Monster was sued last week by her parents.
Monster said Tuesday it is "saddened by the untimely passing of Anais Fournier and its sympathies go out to her family." But it said it "does not believe that its products are in any way responsible for the death of Ms. Fournier and intends to defend the lawsuit."
More than 8 billion cans of Monster Energy drinks have been sold and safely consumed in the U.S. and elsewhere since 2002, Monster said. The company added it is unaware of any death caused by its products, and has been subject to no other lawsuits.
The company said the 240 milligrams of caffeine in its 24-ounce Monster Energy drink equates to 30% less than the average caffeine in a 16-ounce cup of coffee.
"Neither the science nor the facts support the allegations that have been made," the company said in a statement.
Investors have fled Monster since Monday, worried that regulators and lawyers could increasingly target the company.
Shares fell 10% in Tuesday trading and were down fractionally after-hours to $40.97. The stock is down 11% since the start of the year.
Write to Kristin Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org