Roundup cancer verdict sends Bayer shares sliding


Providence- According to CBS News, shares in German farm chemicals, materials and drug company Bayer have plunged in the wake of a USA court verdict against Monsanto, which Bayer has acquired.

Shares of Bayer plunged more than 10 per cent to their lowest in nearly two years after a California jury ordered the German company's subsidiary Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages last week.

The trial was an important test of the evidence against Monsanto and will serve as a template for litigating thousands of other claims over the herbicide.

Glyphosate, which is most commonly sold under the name Roundup, is a wildly popular herbicide manufactured by Monsanto.

Bayer said it will appeal and USA jury awards against companies are often overturned or reduced.

Monsanto - a St. Louis-based company which was acquired by Bayer pharmaceuticals in June - denies claims that Roundup can cause cancer.

Johnson, diagnosed in 2014 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - a cancer that affects white blood cells - says he repeatedly used a professional form of Roundup while working at a school in Benicia, California.

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"The Johnson vs Monsanto verdict is a win for all of humanity and all life on earth", said Zen Honeycutt, founding Executive Director of non-profit group Moms Across America. "As this case proceeds, Bayer believes courts ultimately will find that Monsanto and glyphosate were not responsible for Mr. Johnson's illness". Monsanto has stated that it will appeal the verdict.

He worked for a school district near San Francisco, spraying herbicides on weeds for several hours a day. Monsanto, a unit of the German conglomerate Bayer following a $62.5 billion acquisition, faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.

Macquarie Bank analysts estimate Nufarm earns about a fifth of its revenue from products containing glyphosate, the world's most widely-used herbicide.

Another trial against Monsanto is scheduled to begin in Missouri in the coming months.

Late last week, US judges found Monsanto guilty of selling the glyphosate-based weed killer "Roundup" without adequately warning consumers that it could cause cancer. Johnson's case was fast-tracked to trial given the severity of his condition and his grave prognosis.

Monsanto argues the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not consider glyphosate as a cancer causing chemical, there are hundreds of studies spanning decades that also show the safety of their product, and there was no evidence that the cancer was contracted after spraying glyphosate.