Jury Awards Plaintiffs $2 Billion in Roundup Case, Bayer Will Appeal

Bayer logo on building

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Bayer said it was disappointed in the $2 billion verdict a jury awarded to a California couple that claimed use of Roundup led or contributed to the development of cancer.

This marks the third high-profile trial the German-based life sciences company has lost regarding the weed killer Roundup, which is sold by Monsanto, the crop sciences giant that is a subsidiary of Bayer. The jury found that Alva and Alberta Pilliod of Livermore, Calif., contracted non-Hodgkins lymphoma due to their use of the weed killer and its base ingredient, glyphosate. Both Pilliods were awarded $1 billion in punitive damages and an additional $55 million in collective compensatory damages, NPR reported.

In a statement issued late Monday, Bayer said it was disappointed in the decision and planned to appeal the case, which it says conflicts with a report released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Bayer said the EPA’s interim registration review decision, released in April, suggests that glyphosate-based products can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. The EPA’s report aligns with other worldwide health regulators, Bayer said, as well as more than 40 years of scientific research that was the basis for those regulatory rulings.

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“The contrast between today’s verdict and EPA’s conclusion that there are ‘no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate’ could not be more stark,” Bayer said.

It said the EPA’s conclusion was based on more than 800 different studies involving glyphosate and how it relates to human health. Additionally, Bayer said, the EPA’s 2017 cancer risk assessment also examined numerous studies. Bayer added that the plaintiffs cherry-picked details they presented to the jury and did not include the exposure to other pesticides.

“We have great sympathy for Mr. and Mrs. Pilliod, but the evidence in this case was clear that both have long histories of illnesses known to be substantial risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), most NHL has no known cause, and there is not reliable scientific evidence to conclude that glyphosate-based herbicides were the ‘but for’ cause of their illnesses as the jury was required to find in this case,” Bayer said in its statement.

The latest verdict against Bayer comes on the heels of an $80 million award in March to a man who claimed his cancer was related to extensive use of Roundup. The 70-year-old plaintiff in that case, Edwin Hardeman, said he had been using Roundup for decades. He was diagnosed with NHL in 2015. Also, in August 2018, a jury awarded a plaintiff $289 million after determining Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. That award was cut by a judge to $78 million and Bayer has appealed. Bayer is also appealing the $80 million awarded in March.

Currently, there are hundreds of lawsuits against Bayer and Monsanto waiting to go forward over glyphosate concerns. The next trial related to Roundup scheduled to go before a judge is in Missouri. That trial is scheduled to begin later this summer, NPR reported.

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