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Bayer to settle Monsanto false labeling lawsuit

March 31, 2020

The German chemical giant has agreed to settle a class action over charges that its Monsanto unit misled consumers about the safety of its weedkiller Roundup. It contains glyphosate, which has been linked to cancer.

Bottle of Monsanto Roundup
Image: Getty Images/AFP/J. Edelson

Bayer is set to pay $39.6 million dollars (€35.8 million) to settle a class action in the United States over alleged misleading marketing for its weedkiller Roundup.

Documents revealed to a court in Kansas City on Monday showed the German agrochemical and pharmaceutical giant has reached an agreement with several plaintiffs over the labeling of the controversial pesticide made by its Monsanto unit.

Roundup contains the controversial active ingredient glyphosate, which has been linked to cancer.

The lawsuit centered on how Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018 for more than $60 billion, failed to list the pesticide's health risks on Roundup labeling.

Labeling will be changed

The settlement also includes the requirement to improve the labeling of Roundup.

Bloomberg reported that language will be removed that says glyphosate only affects an enzyme found in plants.

The court in the US state of Missouri must still approve the settlement.

Bayer said in a statement that it welcomed the deal, which was preceded by more than two years of litigation in several federal court districts. The firm has consistently said it stands behind the safety of Roundup, despite already losing three lawsuits in the US over the product.

Bayer had won the cases and received substantial damages, but the rulings were overturned upon appeal.

"This agreement is not related to the Roundup product liability litigation, for which the parties continue to mediate in good faith (...) While Bayer is constructively engaged in the mediation process, there is no comprehensive agreement at this time. There also is no certainty or timetable for a comprehensive resolution," the firm said in statement.

According to its own statements, Bayer faces 48,600 other lawsuits in the US over the alleged cancer risks associated with Roundup.

Settlement talks have been underway for some time, supervised by US Attorney Ken Feinberg.

Analysts think a final deal could cost Bayer around $10 billion.

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