Bayer comes out swinging at glyphosate court verdict

Pharmaceutical giant Bayer – the new owner of Monsanto and the glyphosate weedkiller – has come out swinging following the recent decision by a court in California declaring glyphosate to be a carcenogen.

The court ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million (€253 million) in damages to a man who alleged that ingredients in a weedkiller had caused his cancer.

Following the ruling, Bayer shares have fallen dramatically, and it has emerged that Bayer – through Monsanto – faces 8,000 more lawsuits on the matter.

In response to this, the German headquartered company held a conference call on the glyphosate litigation earlier today (Friday, August 24).

CEO of Bayer Werner Baumann insisted that, despite the August 10 Johnson trial verdict and the following capital market reaction, nothing has changed concerning the firm’s strategy, synergy potential, and longer-term growth and margin expectations for its combined Crop Science business.

‘Optimistic’

“We expect strong value creation through the Monsanto acquisition, including $1.2 billion in annual synergies targeted as of 2022 and accretion to our core EPS already in 2019. We are very optimistic for the future of the business.

Looking at the verdict in the Johnson trial, we think it is inconsistent with the robust science-based conclusions of regulators and health authorities worldwide, and we believe it is wrong.

“We are confident that our legal resources, now combined after the hold separate has ended, will help strengthen the company’s ability to defend glyphosate in this litigation.

We want to make sure that glyphosate will continue to be available to our key stakeholders as an excellent, safe and very important tool for modern agriculture.

The CEO stressed that farmers and growers have been using glyphosate safely and effectively for more than 40 years.

More than 800 scientific studies and reviews conclude that it can be used safely and does not cause cancer, including the US Agricultural Health Study, Baumann asserted.

Findings

He added: “These findings are supported by the conclusions of regulators and health authorities around the globe, including the US Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Health, European Chemicals Agency and the European Food Safety Authority, which have all concluded that glyphosate does not cause cancer.

“We are of course very sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family, but we disagree with the verdict in the Johnson trial.

The decision by one jury in one case does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews, and other sources, support the conclusion that glyphosate does not cause cancer.

“We will seek reversal of this jury verdict through the various litigation options available to us.”

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