German chemicals giant Bayer has announced a US$2bn fund to resolve future cancer lawsuits involving the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup, Reuters reported on 3 February.

The company inherited the lawsuits in 2018 following its US$63bn purchase of global agrochemical firm Monsanto.

Bayer has consistently denied claims that Roundup or its active ingredient glyphosate causes cancer, saying decades of independent studies have shown the product is safe for human use.

The new settlement would cover future claims brought by individuals who had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and had been exposed to the weedkiller Roundup before their diagnosis, Reuters wrote. It would also cover those who had been exposed to Roundup and develop cancer in the future.

Under the proposed plan, Bayer would provide US$2bn for a four-year period as compensation and to cover outreach and diagnostic assistance, Reuters said. Future claimants could receive up to US$200,000 under the deal.

The parties could also agree to extend the settlement period.

A statement on Bayer’s website on 3 February announced that it had filed a motion for preliminary approval of the class agreement with US District Court judge Vince Chhabria, who presides over the Monsanto Roundup multi-district litigation.

Chhabria had questioned the legality of an earlier settlement proposed by Bayer, which would have involved the creation of a panel of scientists to rule on the viability of claims, Reuters reported.

Bayer had reached a wider US$9.6bn settlement in June 2020 that would resolve most of the more than 100,000 US lawsuits that had been filed over Roundup, Reuters said.

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide and Roundup is used in combination with Bayer’s genetically modified seeds, including soyabeans and corn, which are resistant to it.