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Bayer suffers another setback in US court

Bayer has not let go of the glyphosate dispute: In the legal dispute over alleged cancer risks of a weed killer containing glyphosate, the pharmaceutical company suffered another defeat. But Bayer has a plan.

The pharmaceutical and chemical company Bayer has to accept a setback in the US legal dispute over alleged cancer risks of the glyphosate-containing weed killer Roundup, according to a report by the Bloomberg finance agency.

Judge Vince Chhabria on Wednesday rejected the application of the Leverkusen-based company to provisionally approve a settlement of future disputes against payment of two billion US dollars (around 1.6 billion euros). The proposal was part of a larger settlement related to glyphosate lawsuits.

The judgment was also reflected in the share price, but investors were not shocked. On Thursday morning, the shares of Leverkusen on the Tradegate trading platform fell by up to 2.8 percent to 53.43 euros.

Bayer: Glyphosate is safe

Bayer announced a series of measures to resolve potential future glyphosate lawsuits in a press release early Thursday morning. The new package of measures includes both legal and commercial steps that serve to deal with the risks from the legal complex in a way that is comparable to the solution mechanism proposed so far.

The decision makes it impossible to further develop the proposed national solution mechanism under the supervision of this court, “which would have been the fairest and most efficient solution for all parties”. However, there are legal and commercial measures that, in total, create similar security with regard to possible future lawsuits. “We will implement this as soon as possible.”

Judge Chhabria had previously been skeptical of a settlement draft to deal with future glyphosate lawsuits in the United States.

The desired compromise for a total of two billion US dollars is now the decisive part of a more extensive settlement with plaintiffs, which would cost Bayer over eleven billion dollars in total, but would draw a line under the legal glyphosate debacle. At the court of the federal judge Chhabria, numerous national proceedings are bundled.

Bayer wants another panel of experts

Bayer said it was critical that both science and conclusions from all regulatory agencies around the world continue to confirm the safety of glyphosate-based herbicides.

Last week, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted a statement to a US appeals court in which it reiterated that glyphosate “poses no serious risks to human health.”

Bayer is taking these measures solely for the reason “to minimize the legal risks, not because we have concerns about the safety of the products,” it said. In addition, Bayer is examining how an independent scientific advisory body could be set up in which external experts review the scientific findings on the safety of Roundup (TM).

Monsanto takeover brought the dispute into the house

The Leverkusen-based pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals group took over the conflict over glyphosate with the billion-dollar takeover of the US seed giant Monsanto in 2018. A Monsanto blockbuster is the Roundup weed killer with the active ingredient glyphosate.

Many farmers use the remedy, and some allotment gardeners use it. Bayer emphasizes that glyphosate is safe when used properly, but critics warn of health risks.

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