Bayer plunges after jury finds its Roundup weedkiller caused cancer

  • Bayer’s shares dropped 12% after a jury found a customer developed cancer from using its Roundup weed-killer.
  • The finding comes after another jury found Bayer’s Monsanto unit failed to warn customers of the potential cancer risks of its weed-killers.

Shares in Bayer plunged 12% in morning trading after a San Francisco jury found one of its customers developed cancer after using its Roundup weed killer in his yard.

The decision strikes another blow to the German pharmaceuticals group. In August, a jury ordered its Monsanto unit to pay $US289 million after determining it failed to warn customers of the potential cancer risks of two of its weedkillers, Roundup and Ranger Pro. The verdict was cut to $US78.5 million on appeal.

Bayer – which generated close to €40 billion in sales and €4 billion in operating profits in 2018 – took control of Roundup after it acquired agrochemical company Monsanto last summer. The jury will now decide whether to hold Monsanto liable, raising the prospect of another multi-million dollar verdict.

Bayer’s stock has slumped a third in the past year, wiping more than $US20 billion off its market value. Headwinds remain, as the company faces lawsuits from more than 11,000 farmers, home gardeners, and landscapers. It’s set to appear in six more trials in federal and state courts this year.

The plaintiff’s attorneys said he developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after 26 years of regularly using Roundup to tackle weeds and poison oak, according to the Wall Street Journal. The active ingredient in Roundup and Ranger Pro is glyphosate, a herbicide.

“We are disappointed with the jury’s initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms that glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer,” Bayer said in a press release. “Bayer stands behind these products and will vigorously defend them.”

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