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Bayer likely to fight new wave of Roundup-cancer litigation in Australia, despite looming US settlement

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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

As tens of thousands of cases against the makers of the weedkiller Roundup mount up in the United States, a class action is about to test the product’s standing in Australia.

John Fenton is getting ready to take on the world’s largest agricultural chemical company, Monsanto. The 57-year-old from Robe in South Australia is in remission after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in 2008 …. Like hundreds of others in Australia, he believes his cancer was caused by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

The class action alleges that Monsanto knew or ought to have known that Roundup was inherently unsafe and the company failed to provide suitable directions for use …. At the same time, Bayer is looking to settle the mass-tort litigation in the United States, with an estimated 75,000 claimants, for as much as $US10 billion.

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Class action expert Peter Cashman said any settlement in the US would not impact whether or not the case went to trial in Australia.

“The fact that there is a settlement under consideration, which is likely, in my view, to resolve most of the US cases, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the company will be equally keen to resolve the Australian litigation.”

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