Now, another large company is beginning to face legal trouble after its bestselling product, Roundup, was deemed a “probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.
What Is Roundup? What Is Glyphosate?
Roundup Weed Killer is the number 1 selling herbicide in the United States. Unfortunately, its active ingredient, glyphosate, has been explicitly linked to cancer. Glyphosate was developed and patented by Monsanto in the 1970s and quickly became a staple for farmers. The widespread success of Roundup® and other glyphosate products inspired the German company, Bayer AG, to purchase Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018.
Now, the company faces an estimated 42,700 lawsuits linking Roundup and glyphosate to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and mesothelioma. While this is scary enough, the even scarier fact is this:
Bayer isn’t worried.
As plaintiffs continue to come forward, the New York Times reports Bayer’s confidence that Roundup will remain a moneymaker, even if the company pays billions of dollars to settle lawsuits associated with its product.
While one high-profile lawsuit is set for January 27, 2020, Bayer has pushed back countless others in favor of settlement negotiations. Bloomberg estimates these cases will settle for $10 to $12 billion, but ongoing litigation continues to delay the mediation.
Losses and Appeals
So far, Bayer has faced 3 very public court losses and shaken shareholders’ trust in the company formerly known as Monsanto. Despite its disastrous year, Bayer remains the world’s largest pesticide-and-seed company. While the company’s stock lost nearly 40% of its value, it has begun a carefully orchestrated plan to defend glyphosate.
As part of this plan, Bayer has appealed every lawsuit it has lost.
For example, a groundskeeper with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma won a massive civil suit against Bayer in August of 2018, walking away with a jury award of $289 million. Bayer immediately appealed and successfully had the man’s award reduced to $78 million by November of that same year.
Market research suggests the global market for glyphosate could reach $12 billion by 2024. Many farmers remain loyal Bayer customers, despite health concerns, and Bayer continues to assert glyphosate does not cause cancer when used properly.
Meanwhile, Germany is planning to ban the use of Roundup and other glyphosate products completely by the year 2023 due to its carcinogenic nature and impact on local insect populations. In addition to the loss of its home-market, Bayer has seen Roundup banned or restricted from multiple countries, localities, and school districts. Even retailers, such as Costco, refuse to sell Roundup in stores.
In another confusing response to Roundup litigation, Bayer announced its plans to invest $5.6 billion into weed control research, touting transparency and sustainability. Nevertheless, a representative confirms glyphosate will remain a base in any new products the company creates.
Future Litigation will Determine Bayer’s Future
Two of the most recent trials delayed by Bayer involve plaintiffs under the age of 15. Originally scheduled for January 15, 2020, the trials were pushed by approximately 6 months on December 6, 2019. Financial experts have stated this kind of case creates a “high-risk trial atmosphere for Bayer.”
If Bayer loses enough “high-risk” lawsuits, it, too, will go bankrupt, just like some of the most notorious villains in the opioid crisis.
What Does This Mean for Me?
If you’ve been developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma or mesothelioma after using Roundup, now is an excellent time to come forward. You can join a class-action lawsuit in time for settlement negotiations or be part of the wave of plaintiffs that takes Bayer down, once and for all.