Bayer shares fall after second U.S. ruling that Roundup causes cancer

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Yesterday (19 Mar), a federal jury in San Francisco found Monsanto's Roundup weed killer was a substantial factor in causing cancer in a Californian man, Edwin Hardeman.

The case is In re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2741, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Glyphosate is the most heavily used herbicide in the world.

CNN: Monsanto's Roundup Was Likely The Cause Of A Second Man's Cancer, Jury Says.

"We continue to believe firmly that the science confirms that glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer", the company said in a statement.

But Bayer points to more recent decisions from regulators around the world and reams of scientific studies as proof of the safety of its product. The verdict was cut to $US78.5 million on appeal.

Although almost all scientific bodies and associated research have affirmed the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, the Hardeman case isn't the first time a jury has bucked the science. Its parent company, Bayer AG, said in a statement that while it has sympathy for Hardeman and his family, it stands by its products and will "vigorously defend them".

Bayer is now 0 for 2 in glyphosate trials. Last August, San Francisco Superior Court jurors ruled in favor of Dewayne Johnson, a 42-year-old school groundskeeper suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In the next phase of the federal trial, Mr Hardeman's lawyers will present evidence, including internal Monsanto documents, that could show the company knew the dangers of Roundup and glyphosate and attempted to cover them up.

The latest ruling suggests Bayer is "the underdog in numerous reported 11,200 cases pending across the U.S.", Holly Froum, a legal analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote in a report.

The jury will return on Wednesday to decide if Monsanto shall award Hardeman damage payments, and if so, how much.

Some legal experts had said Chhabria's decision was beneficial to Bayer, which says decades of studies and regulatory evaluations have shown the weed killer to be safe for human use.

To take note of, according to some analysts, continued share price falls might expose Bayer to calls from activist investors to break the company up into separate pharmaceutical and crop chemical units, Bloomberg reported.

Dry weather in eastern Australian and Europe hit Nufarm's bottom line over the first half of the 2019 financial year as farmers bought less fertiliser and herbicide like glyphosate.

Hardeman had chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2015.

In December 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a draft human health risk assessment that said glyphosate was most likely not carcinogenic to humans.

Hardeman's lawyers plan to discuss research on the harmful effects of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, in the second phase of the trial.

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