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A Pennsylvania jury has ordered German chemical giant Bayer’s Monsanto unit to pay more than US$2.2bn to a former Roundup user who claimed his cancer was caused by the weedkiller, Bloomberg reported.

The settlement was the highest payout to date in five years of litigation involving the herbicide, the 26 January report said.

Jurors in a Philadelphia state court awarded John McKivison US$250M to compensate for his losses and US$2bn in punitive damages over his claim that years of using Roundup at work and at home had caused his cancer, the report said.

According to evidence heard in the case, the 49-year-old was exposed to Roundup while working as a landscaper.

Since buying US agrochemicals company Monsanto – which owned Roundup – for US$63bn in 2018, Bayer has faced a series of court cases.

To date, Monsanto had won 10 out of 16 Roundup trials, but the cases it had lost included a US$1.5bn settlement in November awarded to three former users of the herbicide in Missouri, Bloomberg wrote.

Bayer, which sells the widely-used glyphosate under the Roundup brand, has repeatedly said that decades of studies had shown Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, were safe for human use.

“We disagree with the jury’s adverse verdict that conflicts with the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence and worldwide regulatory and scientific assessments and believe that we have strong arguments on appeal to get this verdict overturned and the unconstitutionally excessive damage award eliminated or reduced,” Bayer was quoted as saying in an emailed statement.

Bayer settled most Roundup claims against it in 2020 for up to US$10.9bn but still faces around 40,000 Roundup-related cases, Reuters wrote on 27 October.

The company had been unsuccessful in its appeal to the US Supreme Court to challenge plaintiffs’ ability to sue under state law, the report said.

Bayer CEO Bill Anderson had been reviewing the company’s strategy and structure since taking up his position in June, Bloomberg reported.