Trial: Third US defeat for Bayer in a row in the glyphosate dispute

The pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical company Bayer has lost for the third time in a row in US legal disputes over cancer allegations regarding weed killers containing glyphosate.

Trial: Third US defeat for Bayer in a row in the glyphosate dispute

The pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical company Bayer has lost for the third time in a row in US legal disputes over cancer allegations regarding weed killers containing glyphosate. The Leverkusen-based company had previously won nine US cases.

The DAX group emphasized that it remains convinced of the safety of glyphosate. The company called the verdict unfounded and the amount of damages - a three-digit million sum - unconstitutional. There were also legal errors in the process. Investors on the stock market took the verdict calmly. The price of Bayer's shares fell by almost one percent to 40.27 euros on Wednesday.

Jurors in a California state court in San Diego awarded a 57-year-old a total of $332 million (314 million euros) in damages on Tuesday (local time): $7 million in compensatory damages and another $325 million in punitive damages. Such large sums are not uncommon in jury trials in the USA; judges often reduce the amount significantly later.

Bayer: Products not carcinogenic

Bayer is also likely to appeal in this case. The company only announced on Monday that it wanted to challenge the two previous defeats. “We have great sympathy for the plaintiffs, but we are convinced that our products can be used safely and are not carcinogenic,” Bayer said in this context.

Bayer brought the problems surrounding the weed killer Roundup, which contains glyphosate, into its house in 2018 with the more than $60 billion takeover of Monsanto. In the same year, the first judgment against the DAX group followed, which triggered a wave of lawsuits in the USA. In 2020, Bayer launched a billion-dollar program to settle the majority of lawsuits without admitting liability.

Bayer has already processed the majority of the lawsuits. In the spring, when the business figures for 2022 were presented, it was said that of the total of around 154,000 claims registered, around 109,000 had been compared or did not meet the comparison criteria.

Cushion for billions of dollars in settlements

As of December 31, 2022, Bayer's provision for settlements of existing and future glyphosate lawsuits still amounted to $6.4 billion. Bayer's recent court defeats could signal that the Leverkusen-based company could also need a large part or all of the glyphosate provisions, analysts at Morgan Stanley said in an assessment on Monday.

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