German chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer announced on Wednesday its plans to pay more than $10 billion (€9.6 bn) to settle almost 95,000 lawsuits in the US, filed over its RoundUp weedkiller.
The decision to resolve the Roundup cases “will also return the conversation about the safety and utility of glyphosate-based herbicides to the scientific and regulatory arena and to the full body of science,” said Werner Baumann, Chief Executive Officer of Bayer.
Roundup, originally developed by Monsanto, which Bayer bought in 2018 for $63 billion, contains the active ingredient glyphosate, which is considered by several groups as having carcinogenic effects.
Glyphosate was classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in 2015, following “sufficient” evidence of cancer in experimental animals and “limited” evidence of cancer in humans. However, several countries allowed its use.
Although Bayer has denied wrongdoing, it said the payout would put an end to “uncertainty”. The company will also set aside $1.25 billion to fund payouts for potential claims in the future.
“The settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end,” Baumann added.
The settlement would bring closure to 75% of the overall 125,000 claims, Bayer’s statement adds. Up to $5bn of the agreed payout will be released within the year, while a further $5 bn will be paid in 2021.