A year after Germany’s Bayer Group took over Monsanto, and it’s struggling to deal with the US seed giant’s controversial reputation. Now Bayer is also liable for Monsanto’s legal bills – which are starting to mount alarmingly. Roundup, a herbicide containing glyphosate sold worldwide by Monsanto has long been suspected of causing cancer.
A California court has just awarded more than $2 billion in damages to a couple who had claimed that their use of the pesticide caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma . Bayer’s share price halved last year, and the consequences are already making themselves felt in the company itself: Around 12,000 jobs worldwide are to be cut in the next few years, a considerable proportion of them in Germany. CEO Werner Baumann, who pushed for the merger, is coming under increasing pressure. Voicing criticism, a majority of shareholders voted against absolving Baumann and other managers of their responsibility in the merger. Bayer is in the midst of its greatest crisis.
The film traces the effects of the merger and investigates potential new health hazards emanating from glyphosate. How has Monsanto tried in the past to influence politicians, scientists and public opinion? Did the Americans actually play down or ignore the dangers? And does Bayer really distance itself from these practices?