Wolf in a sheep’s clothing

At a time when the advocacy for better health of people of the country are increasing and a number of activities are being carried out both socially and economically to curb detrimental consumer products, the industries play certain tactics to counter such measures.

In this article I will look at a certain aspect under scrutiny by the health professionals of the country. The increasing talk and established facts of the harmful effects of energy drinks. So lets look at how the industry plays in front of our own eyes on countering the potential harm it gives to human health.

Here are some steps that the regulatory authorities have taken to reduce the risk of such products.

Awareness creation:

Awareness creation on the harmful aspects of energy drinks, though are conducted, it is very weak at present. It’s just that every add carries a small text that says it’s harmful, more like that’s done with formula milk. This message is displayed in the least attractive way so that people won’t really read it. Well I don’t think that has any effect on the person consuming it.

As can be seen in the above picture, the surroundings are more attractive and the little ticker message is just insignificant.


Many good policies to address the non communicable disease burden of the country are made. The most recent NCD plan has specific goals to reduce the consumption of energy and high sugar drinks. Sadly these policies are not aligned. The industry always look into ways to reducible and undermine such policies. This is not necessarily in the Maldives, but world over. For example in the U.K. the popular EFL Cup will be in the name of an energy drink starting 2018.

Here in the Maldives, we see that the industry is exploiting the vulnerabilities of the government events and capital projects. A few examples is the sponsorship of the biggest talent show franchised by the government media company by an energy drink. And also tricking the public in the form of an endorsement by making the Health Minister of the country to give away the prizes with the brand name. Another such company is making the biggest youth sports park in Hulhumale under their name.

There needs to be a mechanism to politely refuse such infiltration by the industry. We do moan the increasing number of young deaths in the country. At the least the government should attempt to align their own policies to what these they do. Ah and also just for a second think about the ever increasing curative health expenditure for NCDs which now is becoming unsustainable.


Recently the People’s Majlis passed legislation to increase the taxation on energy drinks in the Maldives. Now this is a welcome move in more than one way. For those critics this was just a ploy to increase government revenue. It is alway good in my opinion, to have high taxation on products that are harmful to human health. It is also widely known that with increased price, the consumption of such harmful substances goes down. This has a positive impact on improving health and reducing the expenditure on health, both for the state and out of pocket.

If you look at the statistics, in 2016, about 6.4million liters of energy drinks were imported to Maldives. This amount is from 41 different brands of energy drinks that are currently available in the market. With the rise in taxation, the obvious outcome should be that the price of these products will go up in the market. Perhaps not always. Reason, some of these are sold at a good margin that such a change will not have an immediate effect on the  price of the product. In other cases, the industry may even look at the loop holes in the legislation and exploit it. Now here, the legislative change in the taxation of drinks came to those that are classified into the energy drinks category. Other sugary drinks, or the so called processed soft drinks did not have a hike in tax. Perhaps an amendment with good intentions.

Irony is, what if all energy drinks suddenly become soft drinks? This is not something that came to my mind out of the blue, but happened to tumble on a very interesting piece of labeling. I have a picture too posted below. This happens to be the new label of a prominent energy drink, which is in the process of being brought for sale in the country, or it may already be here. What is evident is this label is made specifically for the Maldives market as can be seen written on the top left hand corner of the artwork.

I will leave the questions to be asked to those who have to. And also let others to imagine what the outcomes of this be. I hope and wish that the authorities are on top of this type of matters and take appropriate measures to stop such infiltration. It is very easy to change the label, what is difficult again is that we in the country cannot measure weather the quantity and the ingredients that are on the label match what is inside either. This could even be a soft drink? Well I find it hard to believe. The readers can make their own judgments.

As citizens, lets be aware of these type of matters and act safely and avoid consuming food and drinks that are harmful to us.

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