Monsanto parent company Bayer AG has reportedly offered $8 billion to settle claims that its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer. The $8 billion deal would settle the roughly 18,000 claims that the company is currently facing, as well as future claims that may arise. Monsanto started selling Roundup in the 1970s and Bayer bought Monsanto last year.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs claim glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, caused their cancer. They are reportedly seeking $10 billion to drop their claims. An actual agreement could take months to work out. Bayer’s lawyers and attorneys for former Roundup users are currently negotiating in New York City to work out a deal. According to people familiar with the matter, a sticking point in the negotiations is how to compensate consumers who have yet to be diagnosed with illness.
Bayer has already lost three high-profile court cases over the chemical’s possible link to cancer. Those trial losses resulted in average payouts of almost $50 million per plaintiff after judges reduced jury verdicts that added up to more than $2.4 billion. Thousands of new cases followed each loss for the company. Court officials said this week that Roundup trials set for August and September will probably be postponed, but did not say whether the postponements were tied to the settlement talks.
Bayer’s stock price has fallen by half since its June 2018 purchase of Monsanto, wiping out more than $30 billion in market value. In its most recent annual report, Bayer said it expects more lawsuits to emerge. Major investors have been urging Bayer to drop its defense of the suits and consider a settlement. The prospect of a potential settlement sent Bayer shares up 4.7 percent after the announcement.