The legal troubles keep mounting for German pharmaceutical giant Bayer since it acquired Monsanto last June for $62.5 billion as its weedkiller Roundup has now been linked to four people’s cancer, costing the pharma giant close to $3 billion, with more than 13,400 others plaintiffs waiting in the wings.
On Monday, Bayer was ordered to pay married couple Alva and Alberta Pilliod a combined $2.5 billion in damages after they contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from using the product for several years.
The jury found that the company did not properly warn the Pilliod's about Roundup's cancer risk.
In a statement to FOX Business, Bayer said it was disappointed with the jury’s decision and plans to appeal the verdict in the case as it directly conflicts with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s review of the product, which was released last month.
The loss is now the third Roundup lawsuit the pharma giant has experienced over the last year, totaling close to $3 billion.
Since acquiring Monsanto, Bayer’s stock price has lost nearly half its value, falling to $15.59 per share on Tuesday.
Michael Miller of the Miller Firm, the attorney for Pilliod's, told FOX Business that his next Roundup trial is already set for next week and at this point, a “settlement is Bayer’s only hope.”
Miller’s team was the first to defeat Bayer in court last August when a groundkeeper was awarded $289 million, which was later reduced to $78.5 million, for causing his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Christopher Loder, a spokesperson for Bayer, told FOX Business in March that despite the more than 11,200 pending litigations the company is facing across the country, it “stands behind these products and will vigorously defend them.”
“Roundup products and their active ingredient, glyphosate, have been used safely and successfully for over four decades worldwide and are a valuable tool to help farmers deliver crops to markets and practice sustainable farming by reducing soil tillage, soil erosion, and carbon emissions. Regulatory authorities around the world consider glyphosate-based herbicides as safe when used as directed,” Bayer said in a statement following Hardeman's verdict.
The company added that there have been more than 800 rigorous studies submitted to the EPA, European and other regulators in connection with the registration process that confirms that these products are safe “when used as directed.”
However, glyphosate has been under scrutiny for years. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, identified the ingredient as a “probable carcinogen.”
Miller and his law firm are urging Bayer to put a bold warning on Roundup and restrict its use.