Bayer agrees to pay $10.9 billion to settle lawsuits against weed killer Roundup  

By Emma Williams - World Healthcare Journal

The German pharmaceutical giant has agreed to resolve approximately 93,000 cases through a large settlement of just under $11 billion, which also aims to resolve any future litigation.

This comes after 125,000 lawsuits were filed against the firm which all stated that its weed killer ‘Roundup’ contained an ingredient which resulted in negative impacts on its users’ health, including causing a type of cancer known as Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, despite the company firmly denying the possibility of these allegations.

The claims have been filed against Monsanto, a firm taken over by Bayer in 2018 and responsible for developing and selling Roundup since 1974, resulting in the inheritance of these lawsuits.

Despite the large pay-out, Bayer maintains that the directed use of the weed killer remains safe, as proven by “the EFSA, the US EPA and other regulatory authorities around the world” and will continue to sell the product worldwide.

Roundup has been sold in over 160 countries over many years. However, claims against it have been made since 2015, the year in which the World Health Organisation announced that one of its key ingredients, glyphosate, had the ability to cause cancer.

Furthermore, the patent for glyphosate expired in the year 2000 which has resulted in many more agricultural firms using it to create pesticides, resulting in it being one of the most used components in weed killers in the world, a worrying fact for such a potentially dangerous ingredient.

This lawsuit ends what has been described by Bayer CEO Werner Baumann as “a long period of uncertainty” that has seen its share price driven sharply downwards over the space of two years.

However, this is not the first time Bayer has compensated users of its weed killer.

Three separate suits were successful in going to trial over the failure to warn the general public of the use of glyphosate in weed killers: Dewayne Johnson, Edwin Hardeman, and Alva and Alberta Pilliod took the pesticide giant to court, and were awarded pay-outs of $78.5m, $25.2m and $87m respectively. All four people had developed cancer from their years of consistently using Roundup.

The current lawsuits were resolved after more than a year’s worth of deliberations, yet the firm should not eliminate the possibility of having to make further payments should more cases be filed.

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