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Bayer Shares Plummet Upon Verdict That Roundup Caused Man's Cancer

Bayer Shares Plummet Upon Verdict That Roundup Caused Man's Cancer

Yesterday (19 Mar), a federal jury in San Francisco found Monsanto's Roundup weed killer was a substantial factor in causing cancer in a Californian man, Edwin Hardeman.

Bayer AG shares dropped 13 per cent to 60.66 euros ($68.84) in Frankfurt Wednesday.

In a statement Tuesday, the company said it is disappointed with the jury's decision "but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer".

"We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer", it said.

Notably, the largest and most recent epidemiologic study - the 2018 independent National Cancer Institute-supported long-term study that followed over 50,000 pesticide applicators for more than 20 years and was published after the IARC monograph - found no association between glyphosate-based herbicides and cancer. That award was later reduced to $78 million and is on appeal. Among other things, the second phase of the trial will look at whether Monsanto's strategy unduly sought to influence public opinion via scientific reports.

The verdict will "likely result in a flood of cases filed quickly" against Bayer, and "may expedite the ultimate settlement" of the Roundup claims, Anna Pavlik, senior counsel for special situations at United First Partners LLC in NY, said in an email.

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Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the product and was classified in 2015 as "probably carcinogenic to humans" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization.

However, the case now moves to a second stage, which will determine liability and damages. Bayer now faces some 11,000 suits from cancer patients and their families, and its second loss paints a dire picture.

Glyphosate is the world's most widely used weed killer. Bayer acquired Monsanto, the longtime maker of Roundup, for $63 billion previous year.

Chhabria has scheduled another bellwether trial for May and a third trial is likely to take place this year. The trial is expected to proceed to the next phase, beginning on Wednesday, with the jury to determine the liability and damages in the case.

According to European Union health authorities, "experts, with only one exception, concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans and the evidence does not support classification with regard to its carcinogenic potential". The New York Times reported that they show how Monsanto systematically attempted to discredit scientists and independent scientific research, swayed scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency over its review of glyphosate, and even ghostwrote stories that appeared to be authored by scientists not affiliated with Monsanto.

Litzenburg said he and other attorneys have more than 4,000 similar cases awaiting trial in various state courts.

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