Pharmaceutical company Bayer is said to be proposing to pay as much as $8 billion to settle more than 18,000 U.S. lawsuits alleging its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer.
Following its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto last year, Bayer has been lurching from one disaster to another. Facing enormous damage payments to patients who developed cancer after exposure to Monsanto’s toxic Roundup weedkiller, it recently faced a shareholder revolt and saw its credit rating coming under scrutiny.
In a further damaging development, Bayer was also recently forced to admit that Monsanto had been keeping ‘watch lists’ on influential people across Europe. Its announcement followed prosecutors in France revealing they had opened an investigation over allegations Monsanto had maintained records on 200 French people, including politicians and journalists, with the goal of influencing their positions on pesticides and GM crops.
With U.S. courts having already awarded millions of dollars to several Roundup cancer victims, Bayer will clearly be hoping its settlement offer to the 18,000 remaining cases is accepted. For now though, the crisis surrounding the company is showing no sign of going away.