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Bayer and glyphosate: Continuing wave of lawsuits

by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)

Symbol picture © Shutterstock/Hans Joerg Nisch

In the USA, 11,200 lawsuits have been filed by people who blame the pesticide Roundup with its active ingredient glyphosate for having caused their cancer disease. This was announced by the Bayer Group in its 2018 Annual Report.

A decisive glyphosate trial against Bayer subsidiary Monsanto began in California at the beginning of last week. The pensioner Edwin Hardemann, who suffers from cancer, blames his lymph gland cancer on the pesticide Roundup, which he used intensively for many years. Over the next few weeks, the jury will hear numerous experts, each for around six hours four days a week. The first question on the agenda will be whether glyphosate has caused Hardemann's cancer. Only then, Hardemann's accusation that Monsanto knowingly concealed the cancer risk will be heard. According to agency reports, the court assumes that the trial will last four to five weeks.

A total of 11,200 glyphosate lawsuits against Bayer

The Hardemann v. Monsanto case is a model case in a class action lawsuit called the Bellwether Trial, the outcome of which will set the tone for many more lawsuits. From the end of October 2018 until the end of January, their number has risen from 9,300 to 11,200, Bayer announced in its Annual Report. In addition, there also is a Canadian action requesting the registration of a class action in Canada. At the presentation of the Annual Report 2018, Bayer CEO Werner Baumann presented himself as being confident a of victory: "We have the scientific facts on our side and will continue to vigorously defend this important and safe herbicide for a modern and sustainable agriculture.

Increase of provisions for litigation

With regard to the legal risks, the group stated that it was insured against statutory product liability claims to the extent customary in the industry and had taken appropriate accounting precautions for expected defense costs on the basis of the information currently available. The balance sheet for 2018 shows that Bayer has increased its provisions for litigation by a good 1 bn euros to 1.41 bn euros. However, it remains to be seen which products are responsible for this increase. In addition to the glyphosate litigation, numerous lawsuits are pending against various of the group's pharmaceuticals.


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