Bayer to Pay $10.9 Billion To Settle Roundup Cancer Lawsuits

Jun 26, 2020  | 3 min  | Ep4545

This week agro-chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer announced they will pay up to $10.9 billion to settle a tidal wave of litigation alleging the company’s Roundup weedkiller causes cancer.

The German corporation inherited their glyphosate woes, Roundup’s key ingredient, with the over $60 million 2018 acquisition of St. Louis, Missouri-based Monsanto – which developed Roundup in the 1970’s.  The chemical has since been sold in over 160 countries and is widely used in the U.S.

Bayer said the settlement involves about 125,000 filed and unfiled claims, and under the agreement, up to $9.6 billion will be paid out - with another $1.25 billion set aside to address potential future lawsuits.

In a statement, company CEO Werner Baumann described the action as, quote:

“…financially reasonable when viewed against the significant financial risks of continued, multi-year litigation and the related impacts to our reputation and to our business.”

Roundup came under increased scrutiny after the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm listed it as a “probable human carcinogen” in 2015.

But both the European Chemicals Agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have determined glyphosate to be non-carginogenic.  EPA has added the herbicide is safe when used in accordance with label directions.

Judge Suzanne Bolanos/San Francisco Superior Court of California: “Did Monsanto fail to adequately warn of the potential risks?  Answer: yes.”

The current agreement was hailed by lawyers behind 3 other high-profile, high-dollar settlements in recent years where plaintiffs developed non-Hodgkins lymphoma following years of regular Roundup use in agriculture and landscape operations.  But those cases are not part of the new resolution and remain subject to appeal.

Bayer is confident further scientific review will exonerate Roundup, and has no plans to pull the product from shelves.  Instead, an independent panel will be created to determine if glyphosate does cause cancer, at what minimum exposure levels it occurs.

Additionally, Bayer also will pay up $400 million to compensate farmers whose adjacent, non-resistant crops were killed by spray drift from another of its weedkillers – dicamba.  Claimants in that case must provide proof and Bayer expects contributions from co-defendant BASF.

For Market to Market, I’m Josh Buettner.


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