>> Shares in Bayer plunged to their lowest point in nearly two years on Monday after one of its agrochemical subsidiaries was ordered to pay $289 million to a cancer sufferer. Monsanto, which the German conglomerate bought this year for $63 billion, was found liable in a lawsuit by groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson.
He alleged Monsanto's glyphosate-based weed killers, including Roundup, had caused his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.>> Did Monsanto fail to adequately warn of the danger or instruct on the safe use of Roundup Pro or Ranger Pro? Answer, yes.>> Johnson's case was fast-tracked because of the severity of his cancer. But there's more to come.
Monsanto faces over 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.>> Today is their day of reckoning.>> The company said on Friday it would appeal, adding that the court's decision does not change the, quote, fact, that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews say glyphosate does not cause cancer.
But that statement did not prevent a big Bayer selloff. Shares were down 11% on Monday morning, making it the worst performing stock on the STOXX Europe 600. The verdict also caught many Bayer investors off guard, as hard evidence of the causal link between glyphosate and cancer has not yet been produced.
The US Environmental Protection Agency ruled last September that it was unlikely glyphosate caused cancer. But the World Health Organization said in 2015 that it probably was carcinogenic to humans. Discovered by a Monsanto chemist in 1970, patent free glyphosate herbicides are now sold worldwide by the crop protection industry, despite question marks over their safety.