'There are about 8,700 lawsuits pending against Monsanto, by people who allege that exposure to Roundup weedkiller is responsible for their cancer. Most of the people behind these lawsuits have stories not unlike the one told by Dewayne Johnson, during his landmark jury trial which resulted in a unanimous decision against Monsanto.
Like Johnson, many of these people have non-Hodgkin lymphoma—or they have family members who have already died from the disease. They face long, grueling trials as they go up against the biotech behemoth.
To Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer (which acquired Monsanto last year for $63 billion), these people are just “nuisances.”
According to a recent Reuters report, Baumann told reporters:
“If we can settle nuisances at some point where the defense costs in preparing cases are higher than potential settlement amounts, we will of course consider it from an economic standpoint.”
No wonder. After all, Bayer could end up on the hook for $800 billion in liability—a possibility that has made shareholders of the German company very unhappy.
But whatever Bayer decides—go to trial or settle—Baumann told reporters he’s clear on one thing:
“We will resolutely and with all means defend ourselves in this (glyphosate) litigation.”
Defending the indefensible
On an August conference call following the verdict in the Johnson trial, Baumann promised investors the agrochemical company would defend glyphosate, and in the meantime, continue business as usual.
“Nothing has changed concerning our strategy. 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.”
In other words, Bayer intends to do everything in its power to keep glyphosate on the market—despite a U.S. court’s determination that the weedkiller causes cancer. For Bayer, “business as usual” means profits before human health.'
Read more: Bayer CEO: Roundup weedkiller cancer victims are ‘nuisances’