In 2018, Monsanto was ordered to pay $289 million in a lawsuit over claims the product, which contains glyphosate, contributes to cancer. Since then, many more claims have been brought forward.
Now, Bayer, which bought Monsanto for $66 billion in 2018, has agreed to pay around 75% of the 125,000 claims that have been filed to the value of $10.9 billion.
Roundup is one of the most popular weedkiller brands. However, in the last few years, environmental groups have raised concerns over its main ingredient, the herbicide glyphosate.
Although manufacturers insist it’s safe, there has been a long legal battle, and a report by the WHO said there’s “some evidence of a positive association between glyphosate exposure and risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in some studies”.
What is the lawsuit about?
There have been many thousands of complaints filed so far over Roundup, and the lawsuits claim the company chose to ignore health advice by not adding warnings to the label.
In 2018, Dewayne Johson, who was a groundskeeper in the US who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, won his case and was awarded $290 million.
The following year, a married couple were given $87 million in damages over claims the product caused their cancers.
What happens next?
Bayer says it wants to “bring closure” to the case and “bring a long period of uncertainty to an end.” The settlement figure will be used to settle current claims and resolve any that come up in the future.
Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer, said in a statement, “The company will make a payment of $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to resolve the current Roundup litigation, including an allowance expected to cover unresolved claims, and $1.25 billion to support a separate class agreement to address potential future litigation.”
However, Bayer will continue to sell products going forward and no additional safety warnings will be included on the label.