Recommendations from Health Canada experts say that energy drinks should be labelled “stimulant drug containing drinks” and only sold under supervision of a pharmacist, according to a report in the Vancouver Sun.
The report was obtained under access to information legislation, and said that these beverages that contain higher amounts of caffeine than cola, needed to be signaled to the public that they are drug products, not foods.
Currently these products are regulated as natural health products so companies can make a health claim that they provide an energy boost.
The panel wants to classify these energy drinks as Schedule III under the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities, so they’re sold on pharmacy shelves, but still available without a prescription.
They also recommended that the front panel of the product should have a warning label about serious adverse events, including death, have been seen with these products due to cardiac events.
The beverage industry opposes the panel’s recommendations, which if Canada adopted would set an international precedent for regulating energy drinks.
The Canadian Beverage Association, which represents many energy drinks brands, said the panel had invalid data and information when it wrote up its recommendations and that under the panel’s definition of drinks containing stimulations, all forms of coffee would fall into the same category.
Canadian specialists in cardiology, pediatrics, pharmacology and kinesiology made up the panel, who consulted with a doctor specializing in pharmacovigilance at the World Health Organization and three experts at the European Food Safety Authority to draw up their recommendations.