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Monsanto ordered to pay man $2.25 billion after jury finds popular weed killer caused his cancer

Monsanto ordered to pay man $2.25 billion after jury finds popular weed killer caused his cancer

John McKivison sued the company and won

Monsanto and its parent company Bayer have been ordered to pay over $2 billion to one of its customers.

John McKivison was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and decided to sue the maker of weed killer Roundup, which he claimed caused his cancer.

The case went to trial, and McKivison proved victorious when a Philadelphia jury unanimously ruled on Friday (January 26) that Roundup 'is a defective cancer-causing product, that Monsanto was negligent, and that Monsanto failed to warn about the dangers' of the glyphosate-based weed killer.

Monsanto was acquired by parent company Bayer in 2018.

The 49-year-old said he had used the weed killer on his property for two decades.

McKivison’s attorneys, Tom Kline and Jason Itkin, said in a statement: "The jury’s unanimous verdict was a condemnation of 50 years of misconduct by Monsanto and a declaration that its misconduct was in reckless disregard of human safety and a substantial cause of John McKivison’s cancer."

The verdict includes $250 million in compensatory damages and $2 billion in punitive damages, according to Bloomberg.

Thousands of people have claimed that Roundup caused them to develop cancer.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Kline and Itkin added: "The jury's punitive damages award sends a clear message that this multi-national corporation needs top to bottom change."

The German multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company has since said that it disagrees with the jury's decision, insisting that the verdict 'conflicts with the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence and worldwide regulatory and scientific assessments'.

They added they 'believe that we have strong arguments on appeal to get this verdict overturned and the unconstitutionally excessive damage award eliminated or reduced'.

It also doubled down of the safety of Roundup, saying: "While we have great sympathy for the plaintiff in this case, we are confident that our products can be used safely and are not carcinogenic, consistent with the assessments of expert regulators worldwide."

Bayer have had to pay out billions in damages.
Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

There have been numerous lawsuits about Roundup in recent years following the World Health Organization's (WHO) 2015 ruling that glyphosate is 'probably carcinogenic to humans' - a herbicide used in Roundup.

However, another WHO report the following year said the pesticide is 'unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet'.

Then in 2022, the US Environmental Protection Agency said in 2020 it had found 'no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label'.

Despite concerns, Monsanto has continued to sell the product which is among the most widely used weedkillers in the US.

Over the years, Bayer has paid out a whopping $10 billion in settlements, and still has over 50,000 claims still pending in the US.

Featured Image Credit: Tim Leedy/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images/Scott Olson/Getty Images

Topics: News, US News, Cancer, Money