Bayer has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal verdicts upholding damages to a consumer who has blamed the glyphosate weedkiller for giving him cancer. The German multinational pharmaceutical company likely made the move to save billions in legal fees.
Last week, the chemical and pharmaceutical behemoth lost its third appeal from verdicts that awarded tens of millions to Roundup users. On Monday, Bayer asked the top court in the U.S. to review one of those verdicts issued by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The federal U.S. court sided with the plaintiff, Edwin Hardeman of California.
But, Bayer said the cancer allegations against Roundup are unwarranted as federal environmental regulators have cleared the product, and the claims are scientifically unsound.
In a statement, Bayer said, “The Ninth Circuit’s errors mean that a company can be severely punished for marketing a product without a cancer warning when the near-universal scientific and regulatory consensus is that the product does not cause cancer, and the responsible federal agency has forbidden such a warning.”
Bayer, the popular maker of aspirin, Xarelto, and Yasmin birth-control pills, acquired Roundup in 2018 as part of its $63 billion purchase of Monsanto. Ever since, lawsuits related to Roundup have plagued the company.
Bayer also accepted another provision to put aside $4.5 billion for future rulings by the Supreme Court that went against the company. That was on top of another $11.6 billion it had previously put aside towards litigation costs and future settlements.
Last year, Bayer settled with some plaintiffs but didn’t get court approval for another agreement in future cases. Initially, Bayer intended to keep Roundup on the market. But now, it plans to stop residential sales of the weed killer by 2023. Bayer will be replacing the active ingredient glyphosate in its weedkiller with other ingredients in hopes of warding off future lawsuits and providing more safe weed-killing solutions. The company will still sell farmers the herbicide, however.