Although Covid-19 is disastrous for people around the globe, Big Pharma is finding advantage in the infection: Bayer, a pharmaceutical and agricultural products’ giant, is on the brink of what would be an $8 billion-plus settlement of an estimated 85,000 lawsuits involving the familiar weed killer Roundup.
Bayer has taken a $39 billion hit to its market value due to the Roundup suits, which the German-headquartered conglomerate took on when it acquired St. Louis, Mo.-based Monsanto for $63 billion.
Bayer executives, analysts say, have wanted to resolve the big numbers of current suits while courts across the country have closed due to the pandemic, preventing not only more cases from being filed but also others from resolution. The company has lost a handful of suits, but they carried a big, collective, initial price tag — $2.4 billion. That sum has been slashed on appeal to $191 million and the company says, no matter if it settles thousands of other cases, it will continue litigating the adverse decisions.