Bayer shares drop after Monsanto loses Roundup cancer trial

Cornelia Mascio
Agosto 15, 2018

The California state court verdict against Monsanto for this plaintiff indicates that EPA's safety conclusion for glyphosate exposure may not be an insurmountable obstacle to other juries potentially finding that Roundup caused or contributed to thousands of other plaintiffs' cancers. Responding to the court judgement, a company spokesperson expressed sympathy for Johnson and his family but added, "We will appeal this decision and continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use and continues to be a vital, effective, and safe tool for farmers and others".

While Monsanto has insisted that the Californian jury "got it wrong", and pointed once again to its broad scientific case that glyphosate is not carcinogenic, the precedent set by the outcome leaves the company wide open to a flood of similar damages claims, while vastly strengthening the environmentalist campaign for a ban.

The active chemical in Roundup - glyphosate - has been classified as "probably carcinogenic" by the World Health Organisation but is still approved for use in Australia and the US.

Wisner called the ruling the "tip of the spear" of litigation likely to come. His case was against manufacturer Monsanto for not properly labeling their product, Roundup.

Australia's National Farmers' Federation has rejected the finding of a U.S. court that the weedkiller Roundup causes cancer, saying it set a "reckless precedent" that could harm agriculture.

"I'm glad to be here to be able to help in a cause that's way bigger than me", Dewayne Johnson said at a news conference Friday after the verdict was announced.

"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. It was expedited because court filings indicated that Johnson was dying. To this day, there are strong voices in Europe still calling for the product's licence to be withdrawn altogether, not least France's president Emmanuel Macron.

In a 2015 study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, they concluded that glyphosates were a "probable carcinogen to humans".

A Californian court finding that a Monsanto weedkiller caused cancer in a school groundskeeper sent shares in an Australian maker of a similar product, Nufarm Ltd, tumbling nearly 17 percent to a more than two-year low on Monday. Additionally, Monsanto earns more money from its genetically engineered, Roundup-resistant seeds than from the weed killer alone.

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