Bayer, which purchased Monsanto in 2018 for $63 billion, has agreed to pay $10.9 billion to settle a staggering number of claims that its weed-killing product Roundup caused cancer.
Bayer said the settlement would “bring closure” to roughly 75 percent of the 125,000 claims currently filed and unfiled. The settlement also establishes a mechanism to resolve potential future claims.
“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,” said Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer, in a statement on Wednesday.
Baumann described the settlement as the “right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end.” Despite the litigation and numerous pending lawsuits, Bayer will continue to sell the product without adding safety warnings.
Numerous cancer cases linked to Roundup
Since 2018, tens of thousands of lawsuits have been filed against Bayer’s Monsanto by people claiming their regular use of Roundup -- which contains glyphosate -- caused their cancers. Lawsuits allege that Monsanto willfully ignored warnings that the product contained potentially carcinogenic chemicals and then deliberately chose not to disclose those risks to consumers.
In August 2018, Dewayne Johnson -- a former school groundskeeper in California who developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma -- won a lawsuit alleging that Roundup was a factor in his terminal illness. A jury awarded him nearly $290 million after finding that Monsanto failed to warn Johnson and other consumers about the risks posed by its weed-killing products.
The verdict was upheld by a judge, but the damages were ultimately reduced to $78 million because a judge believed the figure was too high and needed to be more in line with Johnson’s $39 million compensatory award.
Last year, a California jury awarded a husband and wife more than $2 billion (later reduced to $87 million) in damages in a suit that claimed Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.
Bayer has never admitted wrongdoing or said Roundup is anything other than safe.
The latest settlement covers an estimated 95,000 cases and sets aside $1.25 billion for potential future claims from long-time Roundup users who may develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.