Bayer Sets Aside $4.5 Billion For Future Roundup Claims
Bayer has been involved in lawsuits regarding Roundup since they acquired Monsanto in 2016, but the company is now facing increased pressure due to new cases of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in previous users. To combat the future legal challenge, Bayer has decided to set aside upwards of four billion dollars for incoming suits.
Bayer has also stated that it has undergone discussions of discontinuing the Roundup product line and replacing it with a safer alternative for non-commercial use. Roundup would still be available for commercial use. What is interesting about this case is that demonstrated the blurred lines between product effectiveness, product risk, and company responses to those risks. For example, the earliest Bayer could discontinue Roundup is 2023 - five years after the first Monstanto suits and the new medical research indicating its health risks.
The tendency among large companies to delay recognition of severe product risks in hopes of sales or minimized public relations impacts causes massive suffering for clients. For instance, Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone and Roundup (among others), Johnson and Johnson hernia mesh patches, and a slew of other products (FDA) have all experienced issues that have later caused recalls. The FDA publishes a list of recalled products on a daily basis, many of which are classified as Type 1 recalls that pose a lethal risk to consumers.
Bayer's legal future pertaining to Roundup hinges on a key case that they hope will be taken up by the Supreme Court. The Ninth Court ruled against the company in May, but Bayer hopes that decision will be overturned. If this were to happen Bayer would possibly be in the clear regarding Roundup lawsuits which are centered on its glyphosate base.
Though scientific evidence indicates that glyphosate is almost certainly linked with cancer, Bayer is adamant that it is safe for use by consumers. Bayer's suggestion is not dissimilar to those of other companies whose products were later found to be defective or dangerous, like DePuy and others' metal on metal hip replacement systems or Johnson and Johnson's hernia mesh patches.
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Written by Iain Feeney
Mehr, Fairbanks & Peterson