When German drugmaker Bayer acquired agribusiness Monsanto for $66 billion in June, the deal came with more than 5,000 lawsuits centered on claims that the latter's glyphosate-based weedkillers, such as Roundup, cause cancer. As of the end of July, the number of lawsuits was about 8,000, Reuters reports. In a Thursday conference call Bayer CEO Werner Baumann said, "These numbers may rise or fall over time, but our view is that the number is not indicative of the merits of the plaintiff's cases"—even after a recent $289 million jury award to California groundskeeper dying of cancer allegedly connected to his use of glyphosate. Baumann said the company will appeal that decision, which he called "wrong" and "inconsistent with the robust science-based conclusions of regulators and health authorities worldwide," according to Bloomberg.
Still, since the Aug. 10 verdict in California, Bayer shares have reportedly lost more than 10%. And analysts say that the glyphosate cases could cost the company some $5 billion. Nonetheless, the herbicide is still in demand, Liam Condon of Bayer's agriculture unit tells Bloomberg, saying, "Demand for glyphosate depends on the growing conditions, and not a jury decision in California." Following the verdict, however, some California cities say they will no longer use glyphosate products. The cities of Benicia and Novato are going glyphosate-free, KGO-TV reports. The same goes for Santa Rosa, according to the Press Democrat. (Traces of glyphosate have been found in breakfast cereals)