Bayer loses another Roundup cancer case as California jury awards couple $2 billion

Bayer AG, the company that owns Monsanto, is reeling after a third jury in California awarded a $2 billion judgement against plaintiffs who sued the pharmaceutical giant for causing their cancer through the use of Roundup, a popular weed killer.

Roundup relies on a chemical known as glyphosate, which the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer says is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Alva and Alberta Pilliod used the Bayer product on their property for years and received cancer diagnoses in 2011 and 2015.

The jury found their claims credible and awarded them $2 billion in punitive damages and $55 million in compensatory damages.

According to Reuters:

The jury found Roundup had been defectively designed, that the company failed to warn of the herbicide’s cancer risk and that the company acted negligently.

The German chemicals giant faces more than 13,400 U.S. lawsuits over the herbicide’s alleged cancer risk.

Bayer issued a defiant statement in response to the decision.

Bayer is disappointed with the jury’s decision and will appeal the verdict in this case, which conflicts directly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s interim registration review decision released just last month, the consensus among leading health regulators worldwide that glyphosate-based products can be used safely and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic, and the 40 years of extensive scientific research on which their favorable conclusions are based.

The company went on to accuse the Pilliod’s of “cherry-picking” data.

The Pilliod’s attorney Brent Wisner disagrees.

“Monsanto keeps denying that it causes cancer and these two fine people here are casualties of that deception,” Wisner said.

Alberta Pilliod urged the company to add a warning label to their product and take responsibility.

“We’ve been fighting cancer for more than nine years now and we can’t do any of the things we wanted to do. We really resent Monsanto for that,” Pilliod said.

The problem for Bayer is that Monsanto used unethical and corrupt tactics to get organizations and government agencies to side with them over the years in order to say glyphosate is a safe chemical.

The Arizona Daily Independent reported in June 2017 that Monsanto and EPA officials in the Obama Administration colluded to mislead on the safety of the product, tactics they also used in Europe and elsewhere.

The chair of the EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee on glyphosate was in regular contact with Monsanto, providing insider information that guided Monsanto’s messaging;

The chair warned Monsanto that the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm had found glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen months before the 2015 determination became public, allowing the pesticide-maker to mount a public relations attack on the finding;

The chair promised to thwart the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ review of glyphosate’s safety, saying that if he was successful he deserved a medal. The department never did review glyphosate’s safety;

A Monsanto executive emailed other company officials that they could hire academics to put their names on glyphosate research papers written by Monsanto, citing a previous instance where this was done. The referenced paper was used in the EPA pesticide program’s own cancer analysis.

Also, in March a scientific advisory panel of independent top experts commissioned by the EPA to review its work concluded that the EPA’s pesticides office failed to follow its own guidelines when it found last year that glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s flagship pesticide Roundup — is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.

And the EPA under President Donald Trump has been far worse, even moving to reverse a ban on a separate chemical that causes brain damage in children. So any studies or statements by the EPA and other government agencies in the United States and Europe can’t be trusted because Monsanto campaigned for favorable results and even paid for fake conclusions to strengthen their case.

However, the Supreme Court will likely reduce the judgement against Bayer because the award exceeds set limits. Other cases against the company are ongoing.

Featured Image: Flickr

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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