After years of litigation and controversy, Bayer has said it will remove current versions of Roundup from store shelves by 2023.
The agrochemical giant announced it will replace its controversial herbicide with products that don’t contain glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup), but only for American consumers. Farmers will still have access to the glyphosate-based product.
Bayer made the announcement in an update to investors about how the company plans to handle thousands of outstanding lawsuits by plaintiffs who claim exposure to glyphosate caused their non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The company has maintained that the product is safe.
“This move is being made exclusively to manage litigation risk and not because of any safety concerns,” the company said in the update. “As the vast majority of claims in the litigation come from Lawn & Garden market users, this action largely eliminates the primary source of future claims beyond an assumed latency period.”
The company has had to deal with a mountain of litigation concerning Roundup ever since it bought herbicide manufacturer Monsanto in 2018. Last year, Bayer announced it would spend more than $10 billion settling thousands of claims.
Bayer is now hoping to shut down any remaining lawsuits by appealing one of the successful claims at the US Supreme Court. In that case, a jury awarded Edwin Hardeman $80 million, which was reduced to $25 million on appeal.
If the Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, Bayer is setting aside $4.5 billion to deal with the remaining lawsuits.
Bayer plans to ask the Supreme Court to review the Hardeman case in August. If the court agrees to hear the case, Bayers expects it will render a decision in 2022.