Bayer, the new owner of Monsanto and its flagship Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides, has acknowledged 8,000 litigations against the products in the US and said it will continue to defend them.
On 10 August, a jury in San Francisco awarded €255m against Monsanto ($39m in compensation and $250m in punitive damages) after groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson claimed that glyphosate-based herbicides had caused him to develop non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of cancer.
"Glyphosate was not the cause. A verdict by one jury in one case does not change the scientific facts and the conclusion of regulators that glyphosate does not cause cancer," Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann said in a conference call with financial analysts on Thursday.
He added that 8,000 legal cases were pending before state and federal courts in the US as of the end of July. The next trial will start in October in Missouri.
We want to make sure that glyphosate will continue to be available
"We will vigorously defend this case and also the cases that are up and coming," Baumann said. "We want to make sure that glyphosate will continue to be available."
In the Johnson v Monsanto case, the manufacturer's legal team will first file a motion with the court's judge to overturn the jury verdict, and is prepared to appeal to a higher court if this fails, Baumann said.
He also gave an update on a case in Brazil, where a court ordered the regulatory agency to remove glyphosate's licence within 30 days of a 3 August decision because of non-compliance with approval procedures. Baumann said Brazil's attorney general had applied to overturned the injunction on Wednesday.
He was speaking as Bayer officially took control of Monsanto on Tuesday after clearing regulatory obligations in the US.
"We are now the leading ag company in the world," Baumann said.