Press Release, April 26, 2012
Coalition against BAYER Dangers (Germany)
Annual Stockholders' Meeting on April 27, 2012
Coalition introduces countermotions
The Coalition against BAYER Dangers has introduced countermotions to BAYER´s Annual Shareholder Meeting on April 27. Environmental and social justice organizations announced to discuss the proposals within the meeting. About 4,000 shareholders are expected to attend.
The Coalition against Bayer-Dangers has been monitoring BAYER for more than 30 years. The company has published the countermotions on their website: http://www.asm2012.bayer.com/en/counter-motions.aspx (“Download).
The complete countermotions (original motions in German; English translation by Bayer):
Countermotion to Item 2: The actions of the members of the Board of Management are not ratified
The BAYER group of companies is causing a great many ecological and social problems for which the Board of Management bears responsibility. Below is a selection of current problem cases. The background to these can be found on the homepage of the Coalition against BAYER dangers:
BAYER profits from the disastrous conditions in factory farming, where new diseases are constantly emerging. With its animal antibiotic Baytril alone – which is used for the treatment of infectious diseases in cattle, pigs and poultry – the groups latest sales amounted to 166 million. In many animal rearing facilities, injections with Baytril are part of everyday routine, with barely any checks taking place.
More than half of all antibiotics produced globally end up being used in the cattle shed, creating a mass of resistant strains which are detectable in meat after slaughter. Sometimes this danger is lethal.
The active ingredient of Baytril (enrofloxacin) is a fluoroquinolone – like the human antibiotics Ciprobay (ciprofloxacin) and Avalox (moxifloxacin) which are marketed by BAYER. The large-scale use of Baytril has led to common human antibiotics becoming increasingly ineffective.
A study carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in the autumn concluded that the use of antibiotics in animal fattening increases the risk of their being ineffective in humans. For years the World Health Organization (WHO) too has demanded a ban on the large-scale use of antibiotics in animal rearing and has declared the fluoroquinolone group to be “Critically Important Antimicrobials . Fluoroquinolone resistance is frequently identified in Campylobacter, E. Coli and Salmonella infections in poultry and veal calves.
BAYER still refuses to deal with the groups fateful role in the Third Reich and during the first World War. The most recent example of this is the 150th anniversary of the birth of the former Bayer chief executive Carl Duisberg last September. In World War I, Duisburg, the intellectual father of IG Farben, pushed through the use of poison gas, pursued the deportation of Belgian forced laborers and demanded the annexation of large areas of Eastern Europe. Duisberg was hostile towards the Weimar Republic and organized industry donations to conservative and nationalistic parties and, from 1930 at the latest, also to the Nazi party.
Carl Duisberg was a bitter enemy of trades unions who subjugated morals to business sense throughout his life. Yet on the occasion of the anniversary of his birth, BAYER had wreaths laid on his grave and even praised his “social commitment . To the present day, BAYER denies its shared responsibility for war and dictatorship.
Recent studies have again shown evidence of the increased potential risk of the contraceptive pills containing the active ingredient drospirenone which are marketed by BAYER: a study published in October came to the conclusion that users had a 75 percent greater risk of thrombosis than women who used older products. The medical records of more than 800,000 American women were evaluated for this on behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Two studies recently published in the British Medical Journal even came to the conclusion that the risk of thromboembolism caused by drospirenone was 2.3 or 3.3 times higher than the risk caused by drugs containing the hormone levonorgestrel.
The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) also warned in December of the risks associated with contraceptive pills containing drospirenone.
At least 190 women have died in the United States alone after taking the product Yaz, and over 10,000 lawsuits are pending. In view of the unequivocal study conclusions, in January BAYER applied for a postponement of the court actions and held out the prospect of settlements. The lawsuits have now been postponed for three months and in the meantime BAYER has paid compensation to 170 women.
BAYER has so far not approached the women who have been harmed in Germany, however – probably because the courts in this country impose lower penalties. It is unacceptable for BAYER to apply double standards. The women who have been harmed by drospirenone everywhere – or their surviving dependents – must be compensated immediately. They must also be compensated for the cost of rehabilitation and drug products and loss of their earnings.
For reasons of profit, BAYER continues to refuse to withdraw all products containing the active ingredient drospirenone from the market. Sales last year remained almost unchanged at 1.07 billion. Its marketing, which is targeted at girls and young women in particular, also remains unchanged.
It should not be forgotten that contraceptive pills are intended to prevent pregnancy – and older products do this just as reliably as new ones. The serious injuries caused by Yasmin could largely be avoided. The Board of Management bears responsibility for this. BAYER probably reckons that the profits from continued sales are higher than the settlement payouts to more women who suffer injuries in the future.
Countermotion to Item 3: The actions of the Supervisory Board are not ratified
Reasoning: The Supervisory Board does not adequately perform its supervisory role, and its actions therefore should not be ratified. The following are examples of irresponsible policies supported by the Supervisory Board:
The BAYER group of companies is having to pay U.S. farmers over half a billion Euros in compensation. In 2006 the herbicide-resistant rice Liberty Link 601, a variety that was not approved for human consumption, found its way onto the global market. The farmers were left sitting on their harvest.
BAYER initially ridiculed those affected, claiming that these outcrossings were an “Act of God. Only as a result of costly lawsuits, which without exception were won by the farmers, was the company forced to reach a settlement.
Yet BAYER is sticking to its plan to import genetically modified rice into the EU. Large-scale cultivation of genetically modified rice would result in an increased incidence of pests in the producing regions, increased use of dangerous pesticides and further genetic contamination.
In addition, there is the threat of the loss of locally adapted rice varieties, thereby endangering the security of the food supply. The cultivation of herbicide-resistant rice must therefore be urgently prevented.
The herbicide glufosinate which is associated with Liberty Link rice is in addition highly toxic and is therefore being withdrawn from the market in the EU. While BAYER voluntarily gave up the marketing authorization for Liberty (active ingredient: glufosinate) in Germany in the fall, exports of glufosinate in past years have actually increased. A classic example of double safety standards.
BAYER is unashamedly involved in the progressive commercialization of all areas of life. In January, a gigantic BAYER logo was projected on to the north face of the Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps. Not even the status of a Unesco World Heritage Site could protect the mountain from being degraded to advertising space.
Last July, plans for the gigantic coal-fired power station at the BAYER plant in Krefeld were finally stopped. BAYER had vehemently supported the climate killer in the approvals procedure. The many years of opposition from local residents and environmental associations have finally paid off.
The GuD power station which is planned as an alternative, however, is oversized with a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts. Neither the amount of electricity produced, nor the resultant process heat, are needed locally. 90% efficiency is only achieved with small plants that are adapted to local needs.
BAYER emits over 8 million tons of CO2 annually and is thus one of the greatest polluters in Germany. The Group is challenged to dramatically increase the proportion of renewable energy and to stop using energy-intensive methods of production.
In its search for new pharmaceutical markets, BAYER has discovered “esthetic medicine and is developing an injection which dissolves fat cells. The substance ATX-101 is intended to reduce the fat of double chins in particular. The risks are unclear, however. It is feared that the fat cells that are destroyed could block blood vessels and cause strokes. The U.S. FDA has warned against injections to treat fat many times. Lifestyle drugs with an unclear risk profile must be rejected.
H. C. Starck operates a carbon nanotube (CNT) pilot plant on behalf of BAYER in Laufenburg. This is now to be converted to a regular production plant.
The potential risk of CNTs is by and large unknown. The available studies show some worrying characteristics: penetration of biological barriers such as the blood-brain barrier; production of inflammation and cell damage, a risk of thrombosis. Animal studies have also shown that certain nanotubes can promote the development of cancer in a similar way to asbestos fibers. Even BAYER writes in its safety data sheet: “Caution – substance not yet fully tested and “No toxicology studies available on the product .
Yet BAYER and H. C. Starck maintain that there is no risk of cancer from the CNTs produced in Laufenburg. However, no scientific studies were submitted in the approvals
procedure as evidence of this. Nor are any credible data available concerning particle size distribution, length and diameter of the carbon tubes. The limit value for respiratory air of 50 μg/m3 given by BAYER is not justified by epidemiological data.
Under these circumstances, the permanent operation of the plant in the immediate vicinity of a residential area must be rejected.
We would ask for notification of the countermotions and their reasoning in accordance with Sections 125 and 126 of the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG).
On behalf of the executive board of the Coordination gegen BAYER-Gefahren e.V.