Bayer Beefs Up on Roundup Legal Battle

Bayer CEO Anderson Focuses on Roundup Legal Fight Inside, Outside Courtroom

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Environmental Editor
Connect with Todd:
Bayer is stepping up its defense of Roundup in product-liability lawsuits and supporting state legislation to protect companies. (DTN file photo by Pam Smith)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- Bayer plans to step up its fight against Roundup lawsuits in and out of courtrooms by beefing up its litigation team and continuing to work for legislative reform to protect companies against so-called risk warning lawsuits, CEO Bill Anderson said during a company event earlier in March.

Bayer testified in favor of bills in three states that would help protect companies from risk-warning lawsuits such as those involving Roundup.

The company hosted its "Capital Markets Day" event on March 5 during which Anderson said the company would do more to address litigation.

Because Bayer has been experiencing financial losses many shareholders have called on the company to split into three separate businesses -- crop science, consumer health and pharmaceuticals.

"Our priority is on tackling our challenges, boosting performance and creating strategic flexibility," Anderson told investors. "We are convinced that this approach is what's best for Bayer. So, for the next 24 to 36 months, that's where we'll put our energy and focus."

The billions of dollars spent on Roundup and other lawsuits are dragging on the company's ability to offer new products to farmers, Anderson said. "This is a huge burden on our financials and our ability to invest in better medicines and solutions to feed the world."

The company is hiring new "external counsel" and adding a "litigation expert" to Bayer's supervisory board in preparation for more Roundup cases upcoming in 2024, Anderson said.

"We continue to see reductions of awards by roughly 90% on average," he said about the Roundup cases.

"And we are still working to have verdicts set aside completely. But it's clear that a strategy of defense alone is not enough. We are looking at the litigation topic from every angle, inside and outside the courtroom. It includes considering every possible means to bring closure to these lawsuits for the company and our customers."

Bayer said in its 2023 annual report that it had settled 113,000 of about 167,000 glyphosate lawsuits. Bayer said it has had favorable verdicts in 14 of 20 Roundup cases in state and federal courts, with more trials slated for this year.

Bayer continues to see product liability lawsuits, although regulatory authorities around the world have issued decisions supporting the safety of glyphosate.

About three months ago the European Commission extended glyphosate's registration by 10 years. In California, a federal judge recently ruled it would be "false and misleading" to require cancer warning labels on glyphosate products in the state.


Bayer has been paying millions of dollars in damage awards from courts in Roundup product liability cases, generally based on alleged lack of warnings to consumers.

State legislatures are considering bills that would give ag companies protection from product liability lawsuits on products approved for use by the EPA. A DTN search found that lawmakers in Missouri, Idaho, Iowa and Florida introduced legislation designed to curb the number of product liability lawsuits on Roundup and other ag chemicals in general.

There has been a call from hundreds of agriculture interest groups for Congress to consider federal legislative options as well.

A group of more than 360 agriculture groups wrote a letter to leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, calling on Congress to pass the "Agricultural Labeling Uniformity Act." The legislation would prevent states from making additional label requirements on pesticides already regulated by the EPA,….

Bayer confirmed with DTN that company officials have testified in favor of bills in Missouri, Idaho and Iowa.

In February, Bayer testified in favor of an Idaho Senate bill designed to provide immunity to pesticide manufacturers against lawsuits arising from health conditions allegedly connected to pesticides use,….

That legislation would hold that any pesticide approved by the EPA would constitute an adequate risk warning. Many Roundup lawsuits allege that Bayer did not provide warnings on potential health risks associated with the herbicide's use.

Based on DTN's reading of the bills, none would prevent consumers from filing product liability lawsuits.

To date, numerous regulatory bodies in the U.S. and across the world have determined there is little scientific evidence that glyphosate causes cancer. The EPA maintains it has found no cancer risk.

In Missouri, bills in both chambers of the state legislature would revise the law to restrict so-called failure-to-warn lawsuits from having standing if a product passed all EPA tests for human health and carcinogenicity under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA),…,….

In February, the Iowa House advanced a similar bill. Bayer officials also testified in support of the Iowa measure backed by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Soybean Association,…. The bill was passed by the Iowa Senate Appropriations Committee on March 19,….

In Florida, the state's House of Representatives passed a bill on Feb. 22,…. The state Senate was unable to take up the measure before the end of the legislative session on March 8, however.

Bayer confirmed to DTN that it was not involved with the Florida legislation.

"We support state legislation alongside dozens of other agricultural organizations because the future of American farming depends on reliable science-based regulation of important crop protection products that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined safe for use," Bayer said in a statement to DTN.

"Absent legislative certainty that the EPA's scientific decisions about glyphosate and other pesticides and the approved labels cannot be contradicted, billions of dollars in litigation against an approved product could still occur. Money invested in litigation costs could otherwise be invested into R and D, bringing new tools and innovation to farmers."


Anderson told investors that glyphosate was important on several fronts, including its role in no-till farming, which is "pivotal for keeping carbon in the soil, significantly reducing energy and fertilizer requirements," he said.

He said that without glyphosate, carbon emissions from farming would rise dramatically and farming would become less economically viable.

"Threats to its availability jeopardize the livelihood of farmers," Anderson said earlier this month.

In 3Q 2023, Bayer reported a net loss of $4.89 billion with all three divisions reporting losses. Crop science, in particular, saw a 7% drop in sales,….

Read more on DTN:

"Bayer Puts Perspective to New Management Plan,"…

"Big Changes Coming to Bayer's Crop Division,"…

Todd Neeley can be reached at

Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @DTNeeley

Todd Neeley

Todd Neeley
Connect with Todd: