Bayer Contemplates Pulling Roundup From Shelves in U.S.

Following Judge Vince Chhabria’s denial of a motion for preliminary approval of a settlement in the consolidated Roundup Northern District of California lawsuit, Bayer said in a press release that it is considering taking Roundup off of shelves in the United States and restricting availability for residential users. 

“While the Company will remain in the residential lawn and garden market, it will immediately engage with partners to discuss the future of glyphosate-based products in the U.S. residential market, as the overwhelming majority of claimants in the Roundup litigation allege that they used Roundup Lawn and Garden products. Bayer specified that it is not considering altering availability of its glyphosate products to professional and agricultural users. 

In the judge’s order, Chhabria explained that the settlement would be unfair for potential future plaintiffs, citing a time limit of four years of medical monitoring and a compensation fund that would last about four years, when the latency period for non-hodgkin’s lymphoma after use of Roundup is 10-15 years. The judge determined that “mere tweaks” could not fix the settlement which he said would be beneficial for Monsanto, and its parent company Bayer, but would not be beneficial to Roundup users.

Considering removing residential uses of Roundup is part of a “five-point plan” announced by Bayer to address future Roundup claims, the plan is a response to the judge’s concerns about how the settlement would account for Roundup-related claims in the future. The company said that this plan would lay out a path to manage Roundup litigation. 

“The court’s decision closes the door on an MDL court-supervised national class solution to manage potential future litigation, which would have been the fairest, most efficient mechanism for all parties. Still, we have legal and commercial options that together will achieve a similar result in mitigating future litigation risk, and we will pursue them as quickly as possible,” Bayer said. 

The five point plan Bayer introduced also includes creating a promoting a transparent website with studies about Roundup and whether it is safe, discussing residential availability of Roundup, establishing programs for settlements of future claims and an independent science advisory panel to release information publicly, continue settling litigation, and continuing with appeals. 

The company also cited a brief filed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in a Ninth Circuit lawsuit which said that glyphosate does not pose risks to human health.