Bayer aims to turn the page. The giant reaches an agreement of over 10 billion dollars to negotiate tens of thousands of lawsuits related to the Roundup. The figure also includes 1.25 billion in provisions to deal with any new causes for the herbicide inherited with the acquisition of Monsanto in 2018 and accused of causing cancer.
The plea deal affects around 95,000 lawsuits, while another 25,000 remain out by choice. "It's like extinguishing only part of a house fire," says Fletch Trammell, a law firm attorney who represents 5,000 people who have not joined the plea deal. The agreement represents good news for Bayer: it removes part of the uncertainty and legal costs incurred for the individual trials, limits the damage to reputation and reassures investors. The succession of trials in recent years has in fact caused many corporate problems for Bayer, forced to repeatedly defend the acquisition of Monsanto.
The plea bargain came after long negotiations and, according to observers, the final rush was facilitated by the coronavirus which blew up many of the appointments in court without the possibility of reprogramming them. A share of the 1.25 billion set aside for any new lawsuits will go towards the creation of an independent committee of experts called to answer two crucial questions, namely whether glyphosate causes cancer and, if so, what is the minimum dosage or the exposure level deemed dangerous.
Glyphosate was introduced in 1974 but hit the news in 1996 with Monsanto. The former American giant has always defended him with a drawn sword, reiterating that years of study in the laboratory have shown that glyphosate was safe.
Explanations that have never convinced and even now that Monsanto has disappeared the shadow and doubts about society have not diminished.