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Bayer sets up fund to fend off future Roundup lawsuits

February 4, 2021

German chemical company Bayer has struck a $2 billion deal to resolve future lawsuits over claims that its Roundup weed killer causes cancer. The deal would also provide future claimants up to $200,000 in compensation. 

A customer shops for Roundup products at a store in San Rafael, California.
Image: Getty Images/AFP/J. Edelson

German pharmaceutical giant Bayer has reached a $2 billion (nearly € 1.7 billion) deal to resolve future legal claims that its Roundup weed killer causes cancer. 

The settlement, announced on Wednesday, would cover future claims brought by people who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma — a type of cancer — and were exposed to the controversial weed killer before their diagnosis. 

It would also provide scope for compensation for people exposed to the popular product who then develop cancer in the future.

Under the proposed plan, Bayer would provide the $2 billion over a four-year period as compensation and to cover costs of outreach and diagnostic assistance. 

It also includes the creation of a scientific advisory panel whose findings would not be legally binding.

People who qualify could be eligible for up to $200,000 in compensation. 

The parties can also agree to extend the settlement period.

Bayer's struggle to reach settlement 

Bayer has been mired in the dispute over the weed killer, containing glyphosate, since its record acquisition of Monsanto, a US-based seed and chemical company, in 2018.

Bayer has continued to reject claims that Roundup causes cancer, saying that decades of studies have shown the weed killer and glyphosate to be safe for human use. 

In June last year, Bayer had announced a $10.9 billion settlement with thousands of plaintiffs who blame Roundup for cancer. 

However, US District Court Judge Vince Chhabria, raised "skepticism" about the settlement's "adequacy and fairness."

One of the key issues was the Bayer-proposed appointment of a panel of scientists who would rule on the viability of the claims.

San Francisco judge Chhabria raised the question of why future plaintiffs should give up having a jury panel in court to decide if the weed killer causes cancer. 

The agreement must be approved by Chhabria, Bayer said it would be submitted to the judge on Wednesday.

dvv/msh (AFP, Reuters)