Anticipation is growing that Bayer AG will soon settle the massive litigation involving Monsanto Roundup and cancer.
According to Bloomberg News, sources involved in an ongoing mediation effort indicated the German-based company was discussing a Roundup cancer settlement in the neighborhood of $10 billion. The deal would reportedly require Bayer to set aside $8 billion for current claims and an addition $2 billion for future filings.
Ken Feinberg, the prominent attorney leading the Monsanto Roundup settlement negotiations, recently indicated that a deal to settle around 85,000 Monsanto Roundup lawsuits could come within a month. In an email to Bloomberg, he remained optimistic but cautioned that “any details about what may constitute a comprehensive agreement are pure speculation as to both dollars and eligibility criteria.”
Thousands of Monsanto Roundup lawsuits currently pending in courts around the country blame the glyphosate-based herbicide for causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a class of cancer that can take years to diagnose.
The World Health Organization declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen in March 2015, after an independent review linked occupational exposure to an increased risk of cancer, especially non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and its various subtypes.
Bayer has already faced three Roundup cancer trials in California, and has yet to win a single verdict. The first concluded in San Francisco Superior Court in August 2018, when a former school district groundskeeper with terminal non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was awarded $289 billion in compensatory damages.
A jury in San Francisco Federal Court awarded $80 million to another victim of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in March 2019. Then in May of that year, Bayer was ordered to pay $80 million to a married couple – both of whom suffered from the cancer – at the conclusion of trial in Alameda Superior Court.
All of the Roundup cancer verdicts were eventually reduced to bring them in line with California’s constitutional limits on punitive damages. However, Bayer has filed appeals seeking to have the judgments dismissed entirely.
New Monsanto Roundup trials are currently underway in Missouri and California. However, several others scheduled to begin this month were postponed to allow the parties to focus on settlement discussions.
Bayer, which acquired U.S.-based Monsanto in June 2018, denies glyphosate causes cancer. But the massive litigation has taken a toll on the company’s stock and executives are facing increasing pressure from investors.
According to Bloomberg, news of a possible Roundup cancer settlement sent Bayer shares up about 3.9% in Frankfurt on Friday.