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Bayer has to pay less because of glyphosate

The pharmaceutical and agrochemical company Bayer has to pay significantly less in the glyphosate lawsuit. A US court reduced the damages from 2.25 billion to 400 million dollars. However, more than 50,000 cases are still open.

The Leverkusen-based company Bayer has to pay significantly less than expected in a legal dispute over the glyphosate-containing weed killer Roundup. A judge in the US state of Pennsylvania has reduced the fine in a glyphosate case against Bayer from 2.25 billion to 400 million dollars.

In her decision, Judge Susan Schulman granted some of Bayer's objections and reduced compensatory damages to $50 million and punitive damages to $350 million.

Bayer nevertheless announced that it would appeal the ruling. “Although the court reduced the unconstitutionally excessive amount of damages, we still do not agree with the liability ruling,” said a company spokesperson. The proceedings were marked by serious errors. These can and must be corrected.

Jury Trial had decided in favor of plaintiff

A jury in Pennsylvania ruled in favor of plaintiff John McKivison that his non-Hodgkin lymphoma was the result of years of using the glyphosate-containing weed killer Roundup while gardening and sentenced Bayer to pay $250 million in damages and a penalty of $2 billion.

Roundup is one of the most widely used weed killers in the USA. Bayer brought the problems surrounding the glyphosate-containing weed killer into the company in 2018 with its takeover of the US company Monsanto for over 60 billion dollars. Since then, the German company has been faced with legal disputes over whether Roundup causes cancer.

Bayer stated that decades of studies have shown that Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate are safe. Authorities around the world classify the agent as non-carcinogenic. The World Health Organization's cancer research agency, however, classified the active ingredient as “probably carcinogenic” in 2015.

More than 50,000 cases still open

The same year as the takeover, a first ruling against the DAX company followed. This set off a wave of lawsuits in the USA. In 2020, Bayer agreed to a settlement of up to $9.6 billion for most of the Roundup cases pending at the time, but was unable to reach an agreement for future cases.

A good portion of the lawsuits have been dealt with, but risks remain: at the end of January, around 54,000 of around 165,000 cases were still open. The wave of glyphosate lawsuits has already cost Bayer 13 billion euros. Provisions amounted to 6.3 billion dollars at the end of 2023.

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