Tag Archives: Healthcare (TRBC)

Samsung Electronics confirms coronavirus case at phone

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SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) said on Saturday that one coronavirus case had been confirmed at its mobile device factory complex in the southeastern city of Gumi, causing a shutdown of its entire facility there until Monday morning.

Samsung Electronics, the world’s top smartphone maker, said the floor where the infected employee worked would be shut down until the morning of Feb. 25.

“The company has placed colleagues who came in contact with the infected employee in self-quarantine and taken steps to have them tested for possible infection,” Samsung said in a news release.

Samsung’s factory in Gumi accounts for a small portion of its total smartphone production, and it makes high-end phones, mostly for the domestic market. Samsung produces most of its smartphones in Vietnam and India.

Gumi is close to the city of Daegu, home to a church at the center of South Korea’s largest coronavirus outbreak.

South Korea said on Saturday that the number of people infected with the coronavirus in the country had more than doubled to 433.

Samsung said production at its chip and display factories in other parts of South Korea would not be affected.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin. Editing by Gerry Doyle

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Bayer to appeal $265 million U.S. damages award on dicamba weedkiller

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Bayer AG is pictured outside a plant of the German pharmaceutical and chemical maker in Wuppertal, Germany August 9, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) – German agrochemicals group Bayer said on Sunday it would appeal a U.S. jury’s $265 million damages award against it and BASF in favor of a Missouri farmer who said the company’s dicamba herbicide had destroyed his peach orchards.

The jury award, the first of more than 140 dicamba cases to come to trial, is separate to multi-billion-dollar litigation Bayer is trying to settle over the Roundup weedkiller made by Monsanto, the U.S. firm it took over for $63 billion in 2018. Monsanto made both Roundup and dicamba, and Bayer is being sued over both products.

In the dicamba case, a jury awarded $15 million in compensation to farmer Bill Bader and a further $250 million in punitive damages against Bayer and BASF, according to media reports on Friday. No breakdown of the damages was immediately available.

“We are disappointed with the jury’s verdict,” Bayer said in a statement.

“We believe the evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Monsanto’s products were not responsible for the losses sought in this lawsuit and we look forward to appealing the decision.”

No comment was available from BASF, which makes its own herbicide on the basis of dicamba.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) imposed restrictions on the use of dicamba in Nov. 2018 due to concerns about the potential damage to crops surrounding those it was being applied to.

Bayer’s genetically engineered soy seeds are designed to be resistant to dicamba.

Reporting by Patricia Weiss; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by David Gregorio

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma information for chapter safety

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP filed for chapter safety Sunday evening, succumbing to stress from greater than 2,600 lawsuits alleging the corporate helped gasoline the lethal U.S. opioid epidemic.

Purdue’s board met Sunday night to approve the long-expected chapter submitting, which the corporate is pursuing to restructure below phrases of a proposal to settle the widespread litigation.

Purdue, which filed for Chapter 11 safety in a federal chapter courtroom in White Plains, New York, reached a tentative deal to resolve lawsuits with 24 states and 5 U.S. territories, in addition to lead legal professionals for greater than 2,000 cities, counties and different plaintiffs, the corporate mentioned.

Two dozen states stay opposed or uncommitted to the proposed settlement, setting the stage for contentious authorized battles over who bears accountability for a public well being disaster that has claimed the lives of almost 400,000 individuals between 1999 and 2017, in accordance with the most recent U.S. knowledge.

Hundreds of cities and counties, together with almost each state, have sued Purdue and, in some circumstances, its controlling Sackler household. The lawsuits, in search of billions of {dollars} in damages, declare the corporate and household aggressively marketed prescription painkillers whereas deceptive docs and sufferers about their dependancy and overdose dangers.

Purdue and the Sacklers have denied the allegations.

Opposing states, together with Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut, need the Sacklers to ensure extra of their very own cash will go towards a settlement, and have questioned Purdue’s calculations valuing the general deal at greater than $10 billion.

The Sacklers, who would cede management of Purdue within the proposed settlement, have supplied $three billion in money and an extra $1.5 billion or extra by way of the eventual sale of one other firm they personal, known as Mundipharma, in accordance with the corporate and folks aware of the phrases. The Sacklers have declined to revise their supply.

“That is the fork within the highway. There are solely two methods to go from right here,” mentioned Purdue Chairman Steve Miller in an interview with Reuters.

Miller mentioned Purdue plans to argue to opposing states that preventing the proposed settlement will doubtless end in protracted litigation, growing authorized charges and depleting worth that might be steered to U.S. communities reeling from opioid abuse. He described chapter proceedings because the “finest hope for finalizing and implementing a worldwide decision to this litigation.”

In an announcement, members of the Sackler household controlling Purdue mentioned they hoped these opposing the present settlement supply would ultimately change their minds.

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of prescription painkiller OxyContin tablets, made by Purdue Pharma LP, are seen on a counter at an area pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey

“It’s our hope the chapter reorganization course of that’s now underway will finish our possession of Purdue and guarantee its property are devoted for the general public profit,” the household mentioned.

The result of Purdue’s tried chapter reorganization and settlement negotiations will assist decide how a lot cash U.S. communities obtain from the corporate and the Sacklers to deal with hurt from opioids. A reorganization and settlement would in the end should be permitted by a U.S. chapter choose.

States suing the Sacklers, together with a number of over the previous week, allege the household improperly reaped billions of {dollars} from opioid gross sales regardless of information of their dangerous results. The Sacklers, a few of whom beforehand served on the Purdue’s board and are well-known rich philanthropists, have denied the allegations.

Purdue’s proposed settlement envisions it changing into a belief that might contribute to U.S. communities, at little or no value, tens of thousands and thousands of doses of medicine the corporate developed to fight opioid overdoses and dependancy, the corporate mentioned.

Purdue values the medication at $4.45 billion over a decade, the individuals aware of the matter mentioned. Underneath the proposal’s phrases, the restructured Purdue could be completely sure by so-called injunctive aid, which incorporates restrictions on the promotion and sale of opioids.

States opposing the settlement supply have vowed to battle makes an attempt by Purdue and the Sacklers to make use of chapter proceedings to comprise the litigation.

On Friday, New York Lawyer Basic Letitia James mentioned she uncovered roughly $1 billion in wire transfers “between the Sacklers, entities they management and completely different monetary establishments, together with those who have funneled funds into Swiss financial institution accounts.”

The knowledge, in information an unnamed monetary establishment produced in response to a subpoena from James’s workplace, detailed monetary transfers involving former Purdue board member Mortimer D.A. Sackler, in accordance with courtroom paperwork her workplace filed.

He allegedly used shell firms “to shift Purdue cash by way of accounts world wide after which conceal it in no less than two separate multimillion-dollar actual property investments again right here in New York, sanitized (till now) of any readily-detectable connections to the Sackler household,” a lawyer in James’ workplace mentioned in one of many courtroom filings.

“There’s nothing newsworthy about these decade-old transfers, which had been completely authorized and acceptable in each respect,” a spokesman for Mortimer D.A. Sackler mentioned in an announcement.

“This can be a cynical try by a hostile AG’s workplace to generate defamatory headlines to attempt to torpedo a mutually useful settlement that’s supported by so many different states and would end in billions of {dollars} going to communities and people throughout the nation that need assistance,” the assertion added.

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of prescription painkiller OxyContin tablets, made by Purdue Pharma LP sit on a counter at an area pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey/File Photograph

Purdue, in the meantime, plans to ask a chapter choose to halt lively litigation so it could negotiate a closing settlement, the individuals mentioned. However the firm is making ready for states to argue their lawsuits can’t be halted by a Chapter 11 submitting as a result of their authorized actions had been delivered to implement public well being and security legal guidelines – exempting them from the standard chapter guidelines that might cease their complaints.

One other thorny authorized query entails the Sacklers and below what circumstances Purdue may use chapter legislation in an try and additionally halt lawsuits in opposition to them.

These authorized skirmishes may take a while to develop, as Purdue initially should search courtroom approval to proceed paying workers and tackle routine working bills.

Reporting by Mike Spector; modifying by Edward Tobin and Stephen Coates

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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Reuters asks choose to launch secret Propecia paperwork

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Reuters requested a U.S. choose on Thursday to unseal paperwork filed in court docket concerning potential dangers related to Propecia, Merck & Co’s (MRK.N) widespread baldness drug.

A bottle of Propecia is seen on a pharmacy shelf in New York Metropolis, U.S., August 8, 2019. Image taken August 8, 2019. REUTERS/Zachary Goelman

The movement was filed in federal court docket in Brooklyn, New York, after a Reuters article on Wednesday revealed accusations that Merck didn’t absolutely disclose on Propecia’s label the incidence and period of sexual dysfunction in males who took Propecia in scientific trials. These allegations are contained in court docket filings that had been meant to be filed below seal.

Particular Report

Courtroom let Merck cover secrets and techniques a few drug’s dangers

Federal District Choose Brian Cogan has allowed Merck to maintain secret inside firm paperwork in litigation introduced by Propecia customers towards the corporate. A defective redaction allowed Reuters to view a number of the particulars in a plaintiff’s temporary, however the underlying Merck paperwork cited in that temporary are nonetheless sealed. These are the paperwork the Reuters movement seeks to make public.

“This can be a case of large significance that has been sealed with out on-the-record findings explaining that sealing,” Reuters argued in its movement to intervene within the case. “The First Modification precludes such an final result.”

Merck didn’t reply to a request for remark. The corporate beforehand advised Reuters it “stands behind the security and efficacy of Propecia” and famous that the drug has been prescribed safely to hundreds of thousands of males for the reason that late 1990s.

A June 25 Reuters investigation revealed how judges have allowed the makers of dozens of shopper merchandise to file below seal of their courts data that’s pertinent to public well being and security. They usually achieve this with out clarification, although in most jurisdictions, they’re required to offer one.

Particular Report

How judges added to the grim toll of opioids

Particular Report

Courtroom let Merck cover secrets and techniques a few drug’s dangers

The investigation discovered that a whole lot of 1000’s of People have been killed or significantly injured over the previous couple of a long time by allegedly faulty merchandise — medication, automobiles, medical units and different merchandise — whereas proof that might have alerted customers and regulators to potential hazard remained below seal.

Greater than 1,100 Propecia-related lawsuits filed throughout the U.S. towards Merck have been consolidated earlier than Choose Cogan in so-called multidistrict litigation (MDL). Merck agreed to settle most of them final 12 months for $4.three million, to be divided among the many plaintiffs. Previous to the settlement, plaintiffs’ legal professionals cited inside firm communications to allege that in revisions to the drug’s authentic label, Merck understated the variety of males who skilled sexual signs in scientific trials, and the way lengthy these signs lasted. Merck settled earlier than responding to the allegation in court docket.

Beneath U.S. legislation, court docket filings are presumed to be public, and the bar for secrecy is especially excessive for the Propecia paperwork Reuters seeks to unseal, the movement states, as a result of they’re important to plaintiffs’ declare that the drug causes persistent sexual uncomfortable side effects.

“These paperwork mustn’t stay below seal absent essentially the most compelling causes,” Reuters argued.

Learn the Reuters movement

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Bayer mediator dismisses report of $eight billion Roundup settlement

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NEW YORK/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Bayer AG has not supplied to pay billions of {dollars} to settle claims in the USA associated to the Roundup herbicide, mediator Ken Feinberg mentioned, dismissing a report back to that impact which drove its shares as a lot as 11% increased.

FILE PHOTO: Monsanto Co’s Roundup is proven on the market in Encinitas, California, U.S., June 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Picture

“Bayer has not proposed paying $eight billion to settle all of the U.S. Roundup most cancers claims. Such an announcement is pure fiction,” Feinberg mentioned in an e mail on Friday. “Compensation has not even been mentioned within the world mediation discussions.”

Bayer shares, which had shed a few of their features earlier than Feinberg’s assertion, retreated additional and closed up 1.7% at 64.63 euros.

Bayer, which acquired Roundup and different glyphosate-based weedkillers as a part of its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto final yr, declined touch upon the preliminary Bloomberg information report and on Feinberg’s response.

Bayer Chief Govt Werner Baumann final week mentioned the corporate would contemplate settling with U.S. plaintiffs solely on affordable phrases, and if it “achieves finality of the general litigation”.

He added on the time the group was “constructively participating” in a court-ordered course of with mediator Feinberg on the circumstances heard in federal courtroom. Many of the pending circumstances, nevertheless, have been filed with U.S. state courts.

Feinberg added that any efforts by Bayer towards a complete settlement have been tied in with the mediation proceedings overseen by him. “These are all a part of the identical mediation course of.”

Bayer shares have misplaced greater than a 3rd of their worth, or roughly 30 billion euros ($34 billion), since final August when a California jury within the first such lawsuit discovered Monsanto ought to have warned of the alleged most cancers dangers from Roundup.

HIGH EXPECTATIONS

The German medicine and pesticides firm has engaged in negotiations with plaintiffs’ legal professionals, two sources accustomed to the matter instructed Reuters.

“The issue is, how do you get the plaintiffs to climb down from their very excessive expectations? Not one of the jury verdicts to this point have been favorable for Bayer,” one of many sources mentioned, including that talks have been centered on fundamental questions corresponding to how one can deal with potential future claims.

Bayer mentioned on Friday that the following U.S. glyphosate lawsuit initially scheduled to be heard in St. Louis, Missouri, this month could be postponed to Jan. 27, 2020, and {that a} following St. Louis case slated for September had additionally been postponed.

The German firm might profit from having circumstances heard within the metropolis the place Monsanto was headquartered and the place Bayer manages its world seeds enterprise. However Missouri can be identified for juries that usually hit firms with large damages.

Bloomberg mentioned the delays had been pursued by Bayer to permit for undisturbed settlement talks.

The preliminary unfavorable courtroom rulings within the first three glyphosate circumstances, heard in California, have at occasions dragged Bayer’s market worth under what it paid for Monsanto, though the shares at the moment are buying and selling above that stage.

The corporate, which says regulators and in depth analysis have discovered glyphosate to be protected, has beforehand mentioned it was banking on U.S. appeals courts to reverse or tone down three preliminary courtroom rulings which have to this point awarded tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to every plaintiff.

Bloomberg cited three sources accustomed to the discussions as saying Bayer’s legal professionals have been in search of an accord to resolve all present and future circumstances. Talks over circumstances which have but to be filed have been notably difficult, the report added.

Whereas Bayer has indicated it may pay $6-$eight billion, plaintiffs’ legal professionals need greater than $10 billion to drop their claims, the report mentioned.

FILE PHOTO: The emblem of Bayer AG is pictured on the facade of the historic headquarters of the German pharmaceutical and chemical maker in Leverkusen, Germany, Could 14, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Picture

An estimate of a $20 billion hit from the litigation has beforehand been mirrored within the share value, whereas a possible litigation settlement legal responsibility was within the mid single-digit billion greenback vary, Financial institution of America analysts mentioned in observe.

They saved a “impartial” ranking on the inventory, citing uncertainty over Bayer’s fortunes within the appeals course of – with the primary appeals verdict anticipated by the top of the yr – and whether or not a settlement may very well be achieved earlier than that.

The variety of U.S. plaintiffs blaming Roundup and different glyphosate-based weedkillers for most cancers had continued to rise by 5,000 to 18,400, Bayer mentioned final week.

Further reporting by Tina Bellon; Enhancing by David Evans and David Holmes

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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Good house tech makes inroads into China’s rising aged care market

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WEIFANG, China (Reuters) – Charging aged shoppers simply 1 yuan or about 15 cents a day, little-known Lanchuang Community Expertise Corp has launched into one of the crucial formidable undertakings in aged care by a personal sector agency in China.

FILE PHOTO: An aged lady walks with a stick alongside a road in downtown Beijing, China July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Supplied with a setup field, a webcam paired with a TV set and “Xiaoyi”, a Siri-like voice assistant, clients achieve entry to telemedicine and an SOS system in addition to for-pay companies that embrace housekeeping and meal deliveries.

A small robotic that may ring up a medical middle in response to verbal requires assist prices an additional 2 yuan per day.

Launched simply 4 months in the past, Lanchuang’s good care system has already signed up 220,000 aged shoppers in 16 cities, half of that are in Shandong, a quickly growing older province in jap China the place the corporate relies.

It’s concentrating on as many as 1.5 million customers this yr, 12 million subsequent yr and 30 million in 2021, when it hopes to listing on China’s new Nasdaq-style tech board.

The goal, nonetheless, is to not generate income from its shoppers, a few of whom get by on pensions as little as a number of hundred yuan a month, however to take a lower from suppliers of offline companies.

“China’s marketplace for aged care is big, however companies within the business are fragmented,” CEO Li Libo advised Reuters in an interview at his firm’s headquarters in Weifang metropolis.

“Scattered on the bottom are pearls,” Li, 47, mentioned of the services accessible, including it was his firm’s goal to string them collectively.

Lanchuang, which can be working with China Cellular Ltd (0941.HK) on a smartphone for seniors, is an instance of rising, albeit nonetheless nascent, makes an attempt by entrepreneurs to supply complete good house care companies for China’s huge variety of aged.

China has 1 / 4 of a billion folks aged 60 or over, and by 2050, that quantity is about to climb to virtually half a billion, or 35% of the inhabitants, in keeping with authorities estimates.

Liu, 66, a local of Jinan, Shandong’s capital, is aware of how arduous taking good care of the aged may be. In her mom’s last years, her urinary tract would get obstructed regardless of sporting a catheter and infrequently in the midst of the night time, to her daughter’s despair.

“If solely I had been in a position to attain a physician to assist my mom, however medical doctors should not reachable 24 hours a day,” mentioned Liu, who solely gave her surname.

The retired accountant, who was unaware of tech merchandise aimed on the aged, now lives alone and is reluctant to bother her personal daughter and son-in-law.

Care of growing older dad and mom has historically fallen on the shoulders of kids, however in fashionable China, the place the one-child coverage was abolished solely in 2016, the son or daughter has to take care of as many as 4 growing older folks together with in-laws. Typically, youngsters have moved to cities distant for work.

Retirement and nursing properties are on the rise, however are too expensive for many households and largely perceived as ridden with abuse. Three-quarters of outdated folks desire to reside out their days at house, official surveys present.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Whereas Beijing has been keen to ascertain a coverage framework for a proper aged care system, native governments have been reluctant to help aged-care companies which they see as nice-to-haves or simply an excessive amount of work.

However change is afoot.

In April, Beijing issued an in depth coverage doc outlining companies to be developed for the sector, together with good know-how, in addition to monetary help.

The central authorities supplied virtually 22 million yuan ($three million) in subsidies for Lanchuang’s good platform and the Shandong provincial authorities has given three million yuan.

That degree of encouragement is a far cry from a decade in the past when entrepreneurs persistently met with native resistance.

“Why are you doing this? What has this obtained to do with me?” mentioned U.S. entrepreneur Wang Jie, 59, as he recalled skeptical appears when he sounded out native authorities in China about trials of movement sensors at folks’s properties.

Wang needed to go to Canada for his trials. When he returned to Beijing in late 2013 to kick begin a enterprise, Wang needed to persuade native authorities, district by district, of the virtues of his sensors – which assist members of the family monitor exercise ranges of aged folks through an app however should not as intrusive as cameras.

Wang, who sits on the Nationwide Advisory Committee on Good Aged Care, has since managed to make inroads into two Beijing districts, with talks underway with three others.

The 2 districts have helped Wang establish high-risk people, sometimes these aged 70 and above, who reside alone and may be keen to make use of his sensors.

His agency, Beijing eCare Good Tech Co, has offered a number of hundred units of sensors in Beijing to this point this yr underneath three-year contracts with group organizations. Wang’s firm additionally helps practice grassroots emergency response crews as a part of the deal. Households pay nothing.

“If an aged particular person dies and the physique is barely found after three days, this creates unfavourable publicity for the native authorities, publicity that it needs to keep away from,” Wang mentioned.

EARLY DAYS

Entrepreneurs in different graying economies resembling america, Britain and South Korea have equally seized on alternatives within the sector, touting applied sciences from voice recognition for house home equipment to robotic companions for lonely outdated folks.

However it’s nonetheless early days in China.

In Weifang, Zhuojing Healthcare Heart, one in every of 147 group medical service suppliers linked to the Lanchuang community, mentioned it has solely receives 1-2 calls by the system a day.

On a Reuters go to organized by Lanchuang to the properties of two aged shoppers in Weifang, each mentioned they use the platform primarily for video chats with household.

Zhao Xi’e, 55, mentioned she makes use of it to speak to her mom who lives close by.

Slideshow (14 Photos)

Zhao’s purchasing and meals supply panels on her TV show have been grayed out, indicating zero service suppliers in her neighborhood.

She was additionally unaware the purple button on her handheld management had an SOS operate.

“Is that an on/off button?” she requested.

Reporting by Ryan Woo; Extra reporting by Beijing newsroom; Modifying by Edwina Gibbs

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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Bayer could benefit from home advantage in St. Louis Roundup cancer trial: experts

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ST. LOUIS (Reuters) – Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE), facing an upcoming trial in St. Louis over allegations that its Roundup weed killer causes cancer, has recruited Missouri-based expert witnesses to make its case in a place where it has century-old roots but where juries often hit companies with huge damages.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Bayer AG is pictured at the facade of the historic headquarters of the German pharmaceutical and chemical maker in Leverkusen, Germany, May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Four expert witnesses Bayer is seeking to admit hail from Missouri universities, and some legal experts said the company is trying to clinch its first favorable Roundup verdict by emphasizing its reputation as a major local employer.

Bayer on Tuesday announced it would create an additional 500 “high-paying” jobs in the St. Louis area. The Bayer unit that makes the glyphosate-based herbicide, the former Monsanto Co, was founded in St. Louis in 1901. Monsanto employed 5,400 full-time employees in the St. Louis area as of May 2018, according to company statements.

The trial in St. Louis County Circuit Court, expected to begin on Aug. 19, was brought by Illinois resident Sharlean Gordon, who says she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup for around 14 years at her home. It is the fourth trial over Roundup and the first one outside of California, where three juries hit Bayer with verdicts as large as $2 billion. Bayer is appealing those verdicts.

Bayer denies glyphosate or Roundup cause cancer, saying decades of studies have shown glyphosate to be safe. The company said it looked forward to presenting the scientific evidence to juries. It said the experts in the upcoming St. Louis trial are at the top of their field and were selected for their expertise, not their Missouri ties.

The Germany-based company has lost nearly 40 billion euros ($33.75 billion) in market valuation since the first Roundup jury verdict in August 2018. Bayer last month announced it had set up a committee to help resolve the litigation, saying it would “constructively engage” in court-mandated mediation talks.

NEW WITNESSES

Bayer has said in court papers and hearings that juries in California’s traditionally liberal Bay Area, where the first three trials took place, were unfairly influenced by news coverage of the trials and harbored negative attitudes toward Monsanto in part because of its development of genetically modified seeds.

The company’s experts in those cases came mostly from states other than California. In the St. Louis trial, Bayer is so far seeking to admit a total of 14 scientific expert witnesses. None previously testified in the Roundup litigation.

Of the more than 13,400 Roundup claims nationwide that have yet to go to trial, about 75% have been filed in St. Louis city or county courts, according to plaintiffs’ lawyers. Those courts have a history of issuing large punitive damages against companies and have often been criticized by business groups for issuing favorable plaintiffs rulings.

By suing in the county where Bayer’s crop science business is headquartered, plaintiffs can also take advantage of procedural rules allowing them to compel live testimony from executives who work locally. In the California trials, jurors only saw video depositions of Monsanto executives.

David Noll, a professor at Rutgers Law School, said Bayer appeared to be hiring local experts to appeal to St. Louis jurors. “(They) are not seen as hired guns, flying in from afar, but … can explain the case in a way local jurors understand,” Noll said.

But Alexandra Lahav, a law professor at the University of Connecticut, said Bayer could simply be using new experts that the company thinks would have a better rapport with the jury and “not necessarily because the experts are local.”

Counting on a more favorable jury pool in a company’s backyard is not a new tactic.

New Jersey-based Merck & Co (MRK.N), which in the early 2000s faced thousands of lawsuits by patients over its Vioxx painkiller, won several trials in New Jersey, which plaintiffs lawyers at the time attributed to the company’s strong ties to the state.

Merck in 2013 settled some 27,000 Vioxx claims for $4.85 billion.

Reporting by Tina Bellon in St. Louis; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Matthew Lewis

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French court finds Bayer’s Monsanto liable for farmer’s sickness

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PARIS/LYON (Reuters) – A French court has ruled that Monsanto was liable for the sickness of a farmer who inhaled one of its weedkillers, in another legal setback for the Bayer-owned business over health claims.

In the latest stage of a decade-long legal tussle, the appeals court in Lyon on Thursday found in favor of farmer Paul Francois’ claim that Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller had made him sick and that the product’s labeling had been inadequate.

Francois, 55, says he suffered neurological problems, including memory loss, fainting and headaches, after accidentally inhaling Lasso in 2004 while working on his farm.

“Mr Francois justifiably concludes that the product, due to its inadequate labeling that did not respect applicable regulations, did not offer the level of safety he could legitimately expect,” the court said in its ruling.

The latest verdict, however, did not determine compensation for the farmer, which will now be considered by another court in Lyon.

Francois is seeking about 1 million euros ($1.1 million) in damages.

Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in a $63 billion deal last year, said it was considering its legal options, including an appeal before France’s highest court.

French cereal farmer Paul Francois, head of the Phyto-Victims association, attends a news conference, after the verdict in his appeals trial against U.S. Monsanto firm, in Paris, France, April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

The German chemicals group added that crop-protection products “do not pose a risk for human health if they are used according to the terms of use set out in their regulatory approval”.

Mr Francois had won rulings against Monsanto in 2012 and 2015 before France’s top court overturned the decisions and ordered the new hearing in Lyon.

“We are all happy to have won but it came at a heavy price,” Francois told reporters in Paris.

“It’s a big sigh of relief. It’s been 12 years of fighting, 12 years during which I had to put my whole life on hold.”

Lasso was banned in France in 2007 after the product had been withdrawn in some other countries.

It used a different active substance to glyphosate, the chemical contained in Monsanto’s best-selling weedkiller Roundup and the target of lawsuits in the United States over alleged cancer links.

The company has been found liable in two trials in California brought by cancer sufferers who have been awarded tens of millions of dollars in damages. Bayer is appealing against those rulings.

Slideshow (3 Images)

The legal troubles surrounding glyphosate have contributed to Bayer losing about 30 billion euros in market value since last August. The group’s chief executive on Thursday said it was “massively affected” by the litigation.

After the announcement of the decision, Bayer’s shares extended a fall to trade about 1.5 percent down before recovering some of the losses.

($1 = 0.8874 euros)

Reporting by Catherine Lagrange in Lyon, Simon Carraud and Gus Trompiz in Paris; Additional reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Jane Merriman and David Goodman

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