Bayer Backs Away from Roundup Science Panel

13.07.2020 - Bayer has backed away from plans to create a science advisory panel to help decide still outstanding claims from US plaintiffs that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup caused their non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

The change of heart came after the California district judge whose responsibility it is to approve the terms of this part of its more than $11 billion settlement plan indicated he was might turn thumbs down on the proposal.

After setting around three-quarters of pending cases for around $10 billion, the German group had set aside an additional $1.25 billion to wrap up the remainder, at last count 30,000.  Its vision called for the panel to determine whether Roundup could cause cancer. It would resolve claims only if a causal relationship was proven.

Bayer had suggested giving the panel, whose members were to be picked by both sides, four years to study existing research on whether or not Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, is carcinogenic.

Judge Vince Chhabria had questioned, in the first place, whether it would be lawful to delegate the function of deciding whether and at what dose Roundup is capable of causing cancer to a panel of scientists when this should be the responsibility of judges and juries.

Chhabria noted also that the science is still unclear as to whether the active herbicide’s active ingredient glyphosate is carcinogenic and plaintiffs might be locked into findings that could be supplanted by new information.

Now the agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals giant must come up with another plan that has better chances of receiving the judge’s approval.  “The withdrawal will enable the parties to more comprehensively address the questions” raised, it commented.

Bayer added that it “remains strongly committed to a resolution that simultaneously addresses both the current litigation on reasonable terms and a viable solution to manage and resolve potential future litigation.”

The Settlements with the bulk of the plaintiffs does not require court review. Bayer aims to appealing all of the three major jury verdicts on Roundup it has lost.