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New US Cancer Ruling Over Its Herbicide Sends Bayer Shares Plunging

New US Cancer Ruling Over Its Herbicide Sends Bayer Shares Plunging
Following a second jury ruling in a court in the United States that German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer’s top selling pesticide Roundup – manufactured by Monsanto which it recently acquired, is a cause of cancer, shares of the firm dropped significantly in early trading in Germany.
The shares of the company dropped off by 10.5 per cent during early trade which was the worst performing stock in the DAX index of blue-chip German shares.
A jury in the US has found that the weedkiller of the company called Roundup was a "substantial factor" in casing of cancer from extended use by a US man. The individual, who had filed the case, had developed a lump in his throat after he had used the pesticide for years to kill off weeds in the school ground that he used to work in.
This is the second ruling against agrochemical giant Monsanto over the issue within one year.
A US court asked its jurors to ascertain whether an ingredient in the herbicide called glyphosate was a "substantial factor" in the resultant cancer in the man under consideration. For years, glyphosate is amongst the most widely used herbicide and environmentalists have for long alleged that it causes cancer.
Following the jury verdict the case would now judge the role and liability of Monsanto in the causing of cancer because of its conduct.
Monsanto has been selling the herbicide all across the world for more than 40 years now and has strongly pointed out to many previous studies that have exhibited there is no danger to the human users of the product if it is used in a proper manner.
The case that led to the latest verdict is the first of its kind in the US related to allegations of the risks of cancer because of the use of Roundup, and is viewed to be a test case as there are thousands more similar suits currently underway in many other courts in the US>
The case against the weedkiller was filed in court last year by Dewayne "Lee" Johnson, who used to be a groundskeeper at a school where he had been using the herbicide for many years.
Jurorsin California had, in August last year, unanimously agreed that there was “malice” in the actions of Monsanto and that Johnson's terminal illness were significantly contributed to by the glyphosate containing weedkillers Roundup and Ranger Pro manufactured and marketed by the company.
The court had initially imposed a fine of $289m to be paid to Johnson by Monsanto. That amount later was reduced to 78.5m. Johnson has two young sons and he was in the last stages of cancer when the verdict had come out.
An appeal against the verdict has been since filed by Germany's Bayer, the owner of Monsanto.
With regards to the latest verdict, Bayer said that it was disappointed but stressed that there was enough scientific evidence to prove that glyphosate-based herbicides are not significant factors causing cancer in its users.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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