With midterms just around the corner, many students will be stopping by the Owl Bookshop to purchase energy-boosting beverages such as 5-hour Energy and Rockstar to help them study.
One drink that will not be available is Citrus Rx.
Created by Reilly Breaux, a Cal Poly Pomona student who is preparing for pharmacy school, Citrus Rx was pulled from the Owl Bookshop on the first day of the spring 2014 semester.
Originally created for Cal Poly Pomona students under the name Poly Rx, the FDA approved drink is marketed as a “safe alternative to Adderall.”
According to Breaux the supplement consists of nootropics, which are commonly referred to as intelligence enhancers, and are said to enhance cognition and memory retention.
Among its active ingredients are the amino acids Acetyl-L-carnitine and Tyrosine. Acetyl-L-carnitine is an energy booster produced naturally in body and Tyrosine helps build protein.
Poly Rx also includes Schizandra, which increases energy, physical performance and endurance. Likewise, it is known for enhancing resistance to stress and disease.
The chemical Phosphatidylserine is the top ingredient in the drink. It improves mental functions and is used to treat both Alzheimer’s and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Breaux acknowledges Poly Rx as a natural alternative to Adderall, he has no intention of changing that comparison, although it may be off-putting to some.
Breaux said the target audience for the product is those who may abuse substances like Adderall to study.
“I understand why people would be deterred from buying it, but it’s sticking to the guns of what effect I’m trying to have with the student market,” Breaux said.
“The reality is, the product serves two purposes: it gets prescription medication off the campus to a certain extent, and it generates money for Citrus.”
Eric Magallon, Owl Bookshop supervisor, said the product was made available for distribution without his knowledge.
In fact, he said he was unaware of it until Citrus astronomy professor, Denise Kaisler, Ph.D., stopped by to ask about the product after seeing it mentioned in the campus newspaper.
“The article definitely triggered my skepticism,” Kaisler said. “It’s a bad idea to take any drug off-label, so why would the Owl Bookshop sell stuff mimicking the effects of a drug known to be dangerous as well as illegal if taken without a prescription?”
Kaisler brought up Citrus Rx to her astronomy classes and asked if they would purchase the product.
“Roughly a third of each class said they would take it,” Kaisler said. “The other half said no way and the rest wanted more information.”
Magallon said that Citrus Rx was never in the bookstore system and therefore could not be sold.
Along with this, Magallon cited the marketing of the product as an issue.
“I feel like it was a marketing ploy to bulldoze the product into the bookstore,” he said. “As soon as I saw it, I pulled it.”
“It’s presumptuous to create a product for a school and assume that they will purchase it,” Magallon said. “If Breaux wants to sell the product, he should go through a major distributor and pick a catchy name and promote it everywhere, not change the name for each school.”
“I’m not saying the product is bad, but there are too many ‘ifs’, he said. “Who knows what long-term effects it will have on students? There are too many uncertainties with the product.”
While the product is not being carried at Citrus, it is available at various locations on the Cal Poly Pomona campus for approximately $3 per 2 oz. bottle.
Poly Rx can be purchased at Pony Express, Poly Fresh and Vista Market at Cal Poly Pomona.
“We just started carrying it in the Vista Market two weeks ago,” said Cody Medina, operations manager at Vista Market.
“The kids really dig it here on this campus,” he said. “It’s selling great. It’s selling more than 5-Hour Energy is. They think it’s a good alternative to all of the caffeine and the sugar.”
Bob Baltierra, Cal Poly manager at the Pony Express, said that the drink has been selling surprisingly well there, too, and even recently sold out.
Meanwhile, Magallon said he has no plans to put Citrus Rx back on the shelves.
“If people want to purchase it, they can go to Cal Poly Pomona to do so,” he said.