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Bayer pays $10.9 billion to settle controversial Monsanto weedkiller case

Le Roundup a été classé comme un produit probablement cancérigène par une instance de l'OMS (image d'illustration).
Le Roundup a été classé comme un produit probablement cancérigène par une instance de l'OMS (image d'illustration). REUTERS/Mike Blake
2 min

German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG has agreed to pay $10.9 billion (€8.9 billion) to close the vast majority of U.S. lawsuits claiming its widely-used “Roundup” herbicide causes cancer.

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After more than a year of talks the German drugs and pesticides maker reached agreement with around 75% of the current Roundup plaintiffs, involving some 125,000 filed and unfiled claims overall, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

The settled cases account for about 95% of those currently set for trial, it added.

"The Roundup settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end," Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann said.

"Bayer wisely decided to settle the litigation rather than roll the dice in [an] American court," said settlement mediator Ken Feinberg. 

The company said it would make a payment of between $8.8 and $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.

Dr. Dena Grayson, doctor and Democrat politician was among those to highlight the thousands of claims which Bayer still has to address.

Bayer bought Monsanto, which manufactures the glyphosate-based product, in 2018 for $63 billion and has repeatedly defended the weed-killers safety, pointing to studies that show glyphosate is safe.

The company said it will continue to sell Roundup and has no plans to add a cancer warning label on the product.

A review by the World Health Organisation found glyphosate "probably carcinogenic".

Last year the German government approved a ban on glyphosate as from 2023.

France is to ban a number of products containing glyphosate by the end of 2020, but President Emmanuel Macron has pulled back on a pledge to completely ban the chemical in January 2021 saying it would be too hard on farmers.

(with agencies)

 

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