What We're Reading: Bayer Settles Cancer Claims; Census Data Show Demographic Shift; Suit Alleges Regeneron Kickbacks

June 25, 2020

Bayer AG agreed to settle the majority of claims alleging its product Roundup causes blood cancer; Census Bureau data show a historic demographic shift; a federal lawsuit claims Regeneron funneled millions of dollars to a charity.

Bayer Settles Majority of Roundup Claims

Bayer AG agreed to pay up to $10.9 billion to settle the majority of 125,000 filed and unfiled claims by users of Roundup, who claim the herbicide caused a form of blood cancer, Reuters reports. However, the company is banking on scientific evidence that found glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is safe for agricultural use, so as to not pull the product from shelves. Although the US Environmental Protection Agency and European Chemical Agency have determined the ingredient is noncarcinogenic, the World Health Organization classified the herbicide as a probable carcinogen in 2015. The first lawsuit against the company went to trial in 2018. Since then, 3 separate US juries ruled Roundup causes cancer.

Census Data Show Historic US Demographic Shift

In 2019, the majority of individuals in the United States under the age of 16 were not white, marking a new demographic shift in the country, according to the Associated Press. Figures from the US Census Bureau show the shift is expected to grow over the coming decades, as the number of whites has decreased in the past decade as the population ages and fertiltiy declines. In about 25 years, projections estimate that Asians, blacks, and Hispanics will comprise the majority of the population. In the past 3 years, the number of whites dropped by more than a half million, while in 2019, just under 40% of the total US population was either multiracial or people of color.

Federal Lawsuit Accuses Regeneron of Kickbacks

A federal lawsuit filed in Boston, Massachusetts, claims drugmaker Regeneron funneled tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks through a patient charity, The New York Times reports. The charity then paid the out-of-pocket costs for patients who took the company’s eye drug, Eylea, and lied about it to internal auditors. The patient assistance fund violated antikickback laws, as the scheme encouraged doctors to prescribe Eylea over a less expensive competitor, the suit alleges. Regeneron dismissed the claims in a statement, instead highlighting the work its employees have done amidst the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. The company notes it will file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.