WASHINGTON — Cocaine is a drug, federal health officials say.
So what's the news?
This Cocaine is an energy drink produced by a Las Vegas company. It contains no actual cocaine but is being marketed as "The Legal Alternative" to the illegal drug, according to its website. Its logo appears to be spelled out in a white powder that resembles the drug.
The Food and Drug Administration said Redux Beverages was illegally marketing the drink as a street drug alternative and a dietary supplement, according to a warning letter dated April 4 that was released Wednesday. The FDA cites as evidence the drink's labeling and website, which include the statements "Speed in a Can," "Liquid Cocaine" and "Cocaine -- Instant Rush," according to the letter.
In addition, dietary supplements cannot carry claims to prevent or treat a disease -- something only drugs can do, according to the letter. The Cocaine website lists an ingredient called inositol and says it reduces cholesterol and helps prevent hardening of the arteries, among other health claims, the FDA said.
"Your product, Cocaine, is a drug," the three-page letter reads in part. It's also a new drug and as such cannot be sold without FDA approval. In addition, the FDA said, the product is mislabeled because it doesn't include "adequate directions for its intended uses."
"Obviously, we're not a drug. We pretty much have the identical ingredients of every other energy drink out there," said Hannah Kirby, managing partner of the beverage company.
Kirby said company attorneys already were in discussions with the FDA about how to comply with federal law. And the company has begun revising its website and other marketing materials, she added.