Bayer will pay more than $ 10 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits related to claims that its herbicide Roundup causes cancer, the company announced Wednesday.
Monsanto, bought by Bayer in 2018, lost a lawsuit that same year filed by a school gardener who claimed that his herbicide had caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Since then, thousands of lawsuits have been filed in the United States against the company.
Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said the decision to settle the lawsuits was the right one to end a long period of uncertainty.
“The decision to resolve the Roundup litigation allows us to fully focus on the critical provision of health care and food,” Baumann said in a statement. “It will also return the conversation about the safety and utility of glyphosate-based herbicides to the scientific and regulatory arena and to science as a whole.”
The agreement, however, does not contain an admission of irregularities or liability.
Bayer will pay from $ 8.8 billion to $ 9.6 billion to settle existing lawsuits and then another $ 1.25 billion to cover any possible future litigation, the company said in a press release on Wednesday.
Kenneth Feinberg, a court-appointed mediator for the settlement, called the settlement a “constructive and reasonable” resolution.
“The significant progress made to date, which exceeds the initial participation rates of other complaint resolution procedures, provides a robust framework that will allow the parties to close the current Roundup litigation in due course,” Feinberg said in the statement. from Bayer.
The lawsuits allege that Monsanto ignored warnings that its herbicide contained potentially carcinogenic chemicals, and then concealed the threat from consumers.
A jury awarded California gardener Dewayne Johnson nearly $ 290 million in damages in August 2018 after they discovered that Monsanto failed to warn Johnson and other consumers of the risks their products pose in removing weeds. A judge upheld the decision on appeal, but reduced the damages to $ 78 million due to what she considered an overreach in punitive damages decided by the jury.
And last year, a California jury awarded a husband and wife more than $ 2 billion in damages in a lawsuit that claimed Roundup caused his illness.
German pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018 just a few months before Johnson won his lawsuit against the company. Bayer removed the Monsanto name, but retained the marks and added them to its portfolio.