Posted: June 25th, 2020
On Wednesday German drugs and pesticides producer Bayer, agreed to settle thousands of US-based legal actions taken in connection with users of weedkiller RoundUp developing cancer, for $10.9bn.
This move comes follow year-long extensive talks.
The legal action submitted claimed that RoundUp caused the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers in some users. Bayer has always dismissed allegations that RoundUp or its active ingredient glyphosate can lead to the development of cancer. This dismissal was based on numerous independent studies showing that the weedkiller is safe for human use.
When it purchased Monsanto in 2018, Bayer took over responsibility for the claims. This settlement does not include three cases that have already gone to trial. Shareholders in the group gave their approval to how the claims were being handled in April.
Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann released a statement which said: “The Roundup settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end. It is financially reasonable when viewed against the significant financial risks of continued, multiyear litigation and the related impacts to our reputation and to our business. The decision to resolve the Roundup litigation enables us to focus fully on the critical supply of healthcare and food. It will also return the conversation about the safety and utility of glyphosate-based herbicides to the scientific and regulatory arena and to the full body of science.”
A statement was also released by settlement mediator Ken Feinberg confirming some 25,000 claims remain unsettled. He said: “Bayer wisely decided to settle the litigation rather than roll the dice in American court.”
He added: “I predict all the remaining cases will settle within a few months. People are going to want their share of this settlement.”
$5bn of the settlement must be paid this year and the same figure is due to be transferred to claimants during 2021.
Bayer is believed to be funding the settlement thanks to the the company’s existing free cash flow and the proceeds of the recent sale of its Animal Health portfolio. There were almost 125,000 filed and unfiled claims. The agreed settlement makes up approximately 75% of the claims linked to RoundUp.