By: Alejandra Soifer / Source: Notas.org.ar / The Dawn News / September 16, 2016.
After several months of rumours, the German company Bayer and the North American company Monsanto confirmed that the latter accepted the offer of 66,000 million dollars to merge.
The multinational laboratory Bayer, leader of the pharmaceutical industry, decided to increase its line of business in the agricultural industry. This acquisition will add more than 2,000 types of seeds to its broad branch of agrochemicals, licensed by Monsanto.
This merger is being carried out in a special context. Syngenta, Monsanto’s Swedish competitor, was recently acquired by China’s State-owned company ChemChina. The Western markets have become a ground for dispute, now more than ever. And where before there were six multinational companies in agribusiness, now the competition would be reduced to only four giants.
Bayer now has about 117,000 employees around the globe, while Monsanto has 23,000 approximately. With this merger, the global pharmaceutical business of the German company takes the second place, accounting for 50% of its activity.
Within the pharmaceutical industry, the company had been changing its commercial scheme towards the development of chemicals with license exclusivity and high costs. This was accompanied by layoffs in sales forces, as happened on January 2016. This new purchase might have a similar impact and cause the loss of job posts, as workers of the company predicted, since they have already suffered personnel reduction in other merger.
The statement issued by the new corporation reads: “The agriculture industry is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges of our time: how to feed an additional 3 billion people in the world by 2050 in an environmentally sustainable way”
In this sense, the Coalition against BAYER Dangers in an statement quoted the German researcher, Hermann Stübler, who stated that “For more than 25 years, the global pest management industry has not developed and marketed a commercially successful herbicide with a new chemical mechanism for large scale applications –this is one of the consequences of the increasing concentration of business, which went hand in hand with a considerable reduction in research expenditure for new herbicides”.
“As a consequence of this, more and more wild plants are becoming resistant to them and farmers have to apply more and more agrochemicals, with a devastating impact on biodiversity”, added the Coalition against BAYER Dangers.
They also denounced that this is not the first time that Bayer and Monsanto merged. Between 1954-1967, they created a joint venture called Mobay Chemical Corporation. Mobay supplied the United States Department of Defense with one of the fundamental chemicals for the production of Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War, as part of the Chemical War.
One of the main consequences of the use of Agent Orange, according to Vietnam’s Red Cross, was that it caused disabilities or health problems on one million people, or health problems, and killed 400,000. Despite of that, Bayer’s name was never associated to this terrible act, contrary to what happened to Monsanto’s name.
According to different international media the historical chemical company is looking to get rid of Monsanto, since the company “has a bad name”, and the Germans have a better reputation due to having created the aspirin.
Nevertheless, Bayer has faced millionaire trials through its history. The most recent one was in Argentina and was related to the drug to treat cholesterol, commercially known as Lipobay, which caused the death of one hundred people. In this case, the company had decided not to include the adverse effects in the medical prospect, omitting local and international regulations onpublic health. Physically healthy people who were prescribed with this drug were left invalid for life. In 2001 the laboratory had to withdraw this drug from the market, worldwide.
After this “setback”, Bayer’s shares began to decline in the stock market. The company then purchased Schering, acquiring the line of contraceptives and proven cancer products, which allowed it to raise its questionable image and continue generating its exorbitant profits.