More Plaintiffs Alleging Monsanto Weedkillers Cause Cancer

Wall Street Journal writer Ruth Bender reported yesterday that, “Bayer AG said the number of American plaintiffs alleging its recently acquired weedkillers cause cancer has risen sharply, adding to concerns about potentially lengthy and costly litigation stemming from its acquisition of Monsanto.

“The German chemicals company on Wednesday also lowered its full-year earnings outlook because of delays in closing its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto, which included a portfolio of herbicides that contain glyphosate, notably flagship product Roundup.

“Bayer said it faced some 8,700 plaintiffs across the U.S. as of late August—mainly cancer patients who claim to have fallen ill after being exposed to the glyphosate-containing Monsanto herbicides. As of late July, the number of plaintiffs stood at about 8,000, up from 5,200 a few months earlier.”

The Journal article noted that, “Last month, not long after Bayer closed the acquisition, Monsanto was ordered to pay a plaintiff $289.2 million by a California state jury. It found that Monsanto’s Roundup and Ranger Pro products presented a ‘substantial danger’ to consumers, and that Monsanto knew or should have known of potential risks and failed to warn users.”

Ms. Bender added, “Bayer rejected the verdict as ‘wrong,’ and is seeking a review of the court decision. It said it would appeal if necessary, a process the company said could take up to a year. Such large jury awards are often ultimately reduced and in some cases overturned. Bayer hasn’t disclosed any provision for liabilities linked to the cases. The company argues some 800 studies have proven that the chemical is safe and doesn’t cause cancer.”

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