Bayer shares plunge on new United States cancer ruling

Bayer shares plunge on new United States cancer ruling

A USA jury on Tuesday found Bayer AG's glyphosate-based weed killer to be a "substantial factor" in causing a man's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, allowing the trial to proceed into a second phase on liability and damages.

By 11:20 am in Frankfurt (1020 GMT), the shares were trading down 13.2 percent at 60.53 euros ($68.71), dragging down the DAX index of blue-chip German shares.

The jury's verdict comes just months after Monsanto was ordered to pay over $200 million in damages to a former school groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson, who said Roundup caused his cancer. Hardeman's lawyers will present evidence to the jury, including internal Monsanto documents, that could show the company knew the dangers of Roundup and glyphosate and attempted to cover them up. While calling evidence of a glyphosate link to cancer "shaky", he has also said the company seemed callous about the possibility. Johnson received $289 million from that verdict. "We feel confident. a jury. will see that Monsanto has committed 40 years of corporate malfeasance", a Hardeman attorney says.

The trial could pave the way for more cases linking glyphosate in Roundup to the development of cancer.

A U.S. jury found that weedkiller Roundup was a "substantial factor" in the cancer of a United States man who developed a lump in his throat after decades of spraying his garden.

Today's verdict in favor of a California man who said his cancer was caused by exposure to Bayer AG's Roundup weedkiller is further evidence that glyphosate, the herbicide's active ingredient, is carcinogenic to humans, said Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook.

Glyphosate is the world's most widely used weed killer.

"Following the state court decision a year ago, we saw a huge uptick in local ordinances that would regulate the use of Roundup on playgrounds, schoolyards and public parks", said PIRG's Kara Cook-Schultz, who leads a campaign to ban Roundup.

Chhabria has scheduled another bellwether trial for May and a third trial is likely to take place this year. While the first phase focused on whether Roundup caused Hardeman's cancer, the second phase - which begins Wednesday - focuses on whether Monsanto is liable. Regardless of the outcome, however, the decision in phase one of this trial has no impact on future cases and trials because each one has its own factual and legal circumstances.

The herbicide came under increasing scrutiny after the France-based International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, classified it as a "probable human carcinogen" in 2015.

"It seemed like this trial would go a little bit differently, it would be a little bit more fact-based, little bit more science-based", Berzhanin said.

The EU's executive body, the European Commission, pointed to the approval of glyphosate by its two scientific agencies, the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemicals Agency, which do not classify the substance as carcinogenic.

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