Bayer Reports Plan To Address Potential Future Roundup Claims
To address potential future litigation, Bayer has announced a series of actions it plans to implement following the withdrawal of a motion for preliminary approval of a class-action settlement over its glyphosate-based herbicide, Roundup. Bayer gained the product as part of its $63-billion acquisition of Monsanto, an agrochemical and seed company, in 2018.
In June 2020, Bayer agreed to pay between $10.1 billion and $10.9 billion to resolve current and future product-liability litigation in the US over Roundup, which included a payment up to $1.25 billion to support a separate class agreement to address potential future litigation. In July 2020, Bayer withdrew the pending motion to enable it to more comprehensively address the questions rraised by a federal district court judge presiding over the federal Roundup litigation.
The new package of measures, which combine a number of legal and commercial actions, is designed to help the company achieve a level of risk mitigation that is comparable to the previously proposed national class solution.
Earlier this month (May 2021), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a brief with the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in which it affirmed that glyphosate poses no human-health risks of concern. Thus, Bayer stated the actions it plans to implement are being taken exclusively to manage litigation risk and not because of any safety concerns.
The five-point plan includes: (1) the creation and promotion of a new website with scientific studies relevant to Roundup’s safety and a request that EPA approves corresponding language on Roundup labels; (2) immediately engaging with partners to discuss the future of glyphosate-based products in the US residential market; (3) exploring alternative solutions aimed at addressing potential future Roundup claims and explore the creation of an independent scientific advisory panel comprised of external scientific experts to review scientific information regarding the safety of Roundup (4) continuing to be open to settlement discussions, as long as claimants are qualified and resolutions can be reached on appropriate terms; and (5) continuing appeals.
Bayer says it is confident that this new five-point plan of legal and commercial actions provides an effective path for the company to manage and address any risks from potential future Roundup litigation.
The acquisition of Monsanto made the company’s crop-protection business the largest piece of Bayer, surpassing its pharmaceuticals business, which had been the company’s largest business. In 2020, the company’s crop-protection segment posted revenues of EUR 18.84 billion ($22.97 billion), its pharmaceuticals segment of EUR 16.74 billion ($20.41 billion) and its consumer health business of EUR 5.45 billion ($6.64 billion).