However, Bayer did not admit wrongdoing or liability.
Bayer, the manufacturer of the well-known weedkiller Roundup, will pay $10 billion to settle claims that the herbicide causes cancer.
According to The New York Times, Bayer—a German pharmaceutical company—acquired Monsanto two years ago. And with Monsanto came Roundup.
The Times suggests that Bayer was likely unaware that Roundup, at the time of acquisition, was in the midst of a tense legal battle. Tens of thousands of claims had been lodged against the product, with many people claiming that Roundup had given them cancer.
Bayer, though, has moved to end the litigation. On Wednesday, the company agreed to pay more than $10 billion to settle the lawsuit.
Of that $10 billion, approximately $8.8 billion will be used to resolve the current set of lawsuits, with the remainder put in a trust for future claims.
“The Roundup settlement is the right action at the right time for Bayer to bring a long period of uncertainty to an end,” Bayer Chief Executive Warner Baumann said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we have to pay an awful lot of money for a product which is perfectly regulated.”
Baumann suggested that clearing up this particular legal battle will allow Bayer to focus on other, more pressing priorities.
“The decision to resolve the Roundup litigation enables us to focus fully on the critical supply of health care and food,” he said. “It will also return the conversation about the safety and utility of glyphosate-based herbicides to the scientific and regulatory arena and to the full body of science.”
While the pay-out amounts to one of the largest civil settlements in U.S. history, the terms of the agreement do not require Bayer to add a warning label to any of its potentially dangerous products. The company did not admit wrongdoing or liability, either.
NBC News notes the deal has not yet been finalized by a judge. However, the mutual agreement between Bayer and plaintiffs’ attorneys has been called “constructive and reasonable” by a court-appointed mediator.
“The significant progress made to date—which exceeds the initial participation rates of other claims resolution proceedings—provides a robust framework that will enable the parties to bring closure to the current Roundup litigation in due course,” said mediator Kenneth Feinberg.
Feinberg told The New York Times that he expects claimants who have not yet joined the settlement to sign aboard quickly, even if they signal resistance.
Baumann had earlier said that any prospective settlement must meet two conditions for Bayer’s approval: it must be financially reasonably, and it must definitively close all existing claims against the company.
Bayer had earlier lost two big-dollar lawsuits in which individuals claimed that Roundup had either given them cancer or exacerbated existing medical conditions.