It was recently announced that Bayer’s upcoming trial in Missouri over its Roundup herbicide was postponed. With the trial on hold, focus has shifted to talks of a master settlement in response to over 18,400 cases alleging that its glyphosate-based weedkiller causes cancer.
Settling all the Roundup cases could cost about $9 billion, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mustaq Rahaman said in a note, while other estimates have ranged from $2.5 billion to $20 billion.
For Bayer, there appears to be more bad news. Reuters recently reported, “Analysts at JP Morgan, citing an analysis of Missouri court data, said in an Oct. 9 research note that the total number of glyphosate cases could rise to more than 45,000.”
In July Bayer reported the number of U.S. plaintiffs in the litigation had risen to 18,400 and it is due to provide an update on Oct. 30, along with quarterly earnings.
Bayer made its bid to acquire Monsanto in June 2018 for $63 billion – a deal the Wall Street Journal recently called “one of the worst corporate deals in recent memory.” It was last August when a California jury heard the first lawsuit against Bayer in which it found Monsanto should have warned of the alleged cancer risks. Since that time, Bayer’s shares have lost around 30% of their value.
On the science side of things, two new studies have linked glyphosate to aggressive breast cancer and concerning generational changes in offspring. These studies suggest glyphosate is affecting human chemistry at the genetic level to turn on negative, disease-causing traits – even into future generations.
The results indicate glyphosate progressively weakens the genome of living systems exposed to the chemical. It increases susceptibility to health problems and increased infertility.
As the scientific evidence mounts against the safety of glyphosate, Bayer has signaled publicly that it will defend its product and appeal any legal losses. In April 2019, The Environmental Protection Agency reaffirmed the safety of glyphosate finding that it posed “no risks of concern” for people exposed to it by any means.