Natural Products Insider

NOV-DEC 2018

INSIDER is the leading information source for marketers, manufacturers and formulators of dietary supplements, healthy foods and cosmeceuticals. Since 1997, INSIDER has been serving the needs of the global nutrition industry.

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8 INSIDER November/December 2018 In the News Bayer AG is facing an escalating number of lawsuits over glyphosate-based products made by the agricultural giant it acquired earlier this year for US$63 billion: Monsanto. As of late August, around 8,700 plaintiffs have fi led lawsuits in the United States alleging personal injuries stemming from their exposure to certain glyphosate- containing herbicides, including Monsanto's popular Roundup ® brand. A jury verdict rendered in August against Monsanto highlighted the controversy over the safety of glyphosate—the primary ingredient in Roundup and, according to Bayer, the most widely used herbicide in the world. Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper living with non- Hodgkin lymphoma, was awarded $289 million, underscoring the breadth of the potential exposure facing Bayer in state and federal courtrooms. Bayer has indicated it will ask the trial judge to vacate the judgment and fi le appeals if necessary. "Cancer is a personal tragedy and a terrible disease and, of course, we are very sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family, but glyphosate was not the cause," Bayer chief executive Werner Baumann said during a conference call in August with Wall Street analysts. "A verdict by one jury in one case does not change the scientifi c facts and the conclusions of regulators that glyphosate does not cause cancer." But Bayer must grapple with myriad state and federal lawsuits that could result in other large jury verdicts. Complaints are pending against St. Louis-based Monsanto in state courts in California, Delaware and Missouri. Other complaints were fi led in various federal courts. Following action in 2016 by the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation, the Northern District of California is overseeing pretrial matters in the federal cases. Key issues in the lawsuits are whether Monsanto's glyphosate-based herbicide products are defective, whether Monsanto knew or should have been aware of the associated risks, and whether the company failed to provide adequate warnings. In its defense that glyphosate does not cause cancer, Bayer cited more than 800 scientifi c studies and the conclusions of health authorities and regulators around the world. But San Francisco jurors sided with the 46-year-old Johnson, whose lawyers said he applied Roundup weedkiller 20 to 30 times annually while working as a groundskeeper for a school district, CNN reported. "This is a big victory for human health worldwide," the network quoted Johnson's attorney, Timothy Litzenburg. In a Q&A with newhope.com, a sister website to Natural Products INSIDER, leaders in the natural products industry weighed in on the signifi cance of the jury verdict against Monsanto. Below is a condensed version of the Q&A. "It's the fi nancial ramifi cations that have created a turning point. Few are aware that glyphosate was patented as an antibiotic. Everyone understands overuse of antibiotics is dangerous. No matter how much science is produced on 'safety' (and we understand better than any industry how science can be used to turn an argument), the implications of long-term use must not be ignored or, worse, distorted and hidden." —Karen Howard, executive director, The Organic and Natural Health Association (O&N) "Should we even consider that this is the 'beginning of the end' for glyphosate? That may come down not so much to what Bayer does, but to how the settlement affects farmers' decisions. If farmers come to think the scientifi c differences of opinions have now been resolved, and that those who have concluded that glyphosate is a human carcinogen are correct, will they want to continue to use this herbicide? That's the trend we should look for before we can make any credible prediction of the impact of this one jury's decision." —Michael McGuffi n, president, American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) "This ruling could be the 'begin ning of the end' for not only Roundup, but other toxic synthetic pesticides. Monsanto and Bayer will fi ght this and other lawsuits to the bitter end, but they are on the wrong side of history. The trends toward organic and regenerative agriculture continue to grow, and I think these will continue to be adopted in the U.S. and worldwide. With those trends, the need for and use of toxic pesticides like Roundup will decrease and eventually disappear. One day in the not-so-distant future, people will look back on the use of pesticides [in] shock that poisons were used for food production." —Ken Roseboro, editor, The Organic & Non-GMO Report and The Non-GMO Sourcebook "The jury decision is a start, but until farmers join the rebellion, there will be adequate money to pay these judgments. Luckily, it seems the economics of Roundup-ready GMO (genetically modifi ed organism) agriculture no longer pays out. The real threat to Bayer will be fewer U.S. licensees for their technology." —Alan Lewis, government affairs director, Natural Grocers "The Monsanto judgment is a tipping point in public awareness of the dangers hidden in a product that is applied every day to the crops we use for food for humans and feed animals, as well as its downstream effects on soil and water systems, but the company won't give up this battle easily." —Martha Carlin, founder, The Biocollective As Nutrition Business Journal's (newhope.com/nbj) editor-in-chief, Rick Polito writes about the trends, deals and developments in the natural nutrition industry, looking for the little companies coming up and the big money coming in. An award-winning journalist, Polito knows that facts and fi gures never give the complete context and that the story of this industry has always been about people. Natural Products Industry Leaders Weigh In on Jury Verdict Against Monsanto by Rick Polito with Josh Long

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