Rapid responses are electronic comments to the editor. They enable our users to debate issues raised in articles published on bmj.com. A rapid response is first posted online. If you need the URL (web address) of an individual response, simply click on the response headline and copy the URL from the browser window. A proportion of responses will, after editing, be published online and in the print journal as letters, which are indexed in PubMed. Rapid responses are not indexed in PubMed and they are not journal articles. The BMJ reserves the right to remove responses which are being wilfully misrepresented as published articles.
The recent decision by a US jury to award $289million to a terminally ill school groundskeeper with non Hodgkins lymphoma, which was alleged to be the result of his exposure to glyphosate, contained in Roundup weedkiller, has implications which the authors of this paper may have been reluctant to discuss,when they submitted their paper to the BMJ.
The claimant’s lawyer told the jury that
“ Monsanto scientists knew of the cancer risk posed by Roundup as far back as the 1970s, but failed to inform the public and instead engaged in a ‘deliberate effort to distort the truth’ as the weedkiller generated huge returns .“
The authors state “ For most patients, there is no clear aetiological factor .” (1)
Perhaps the authors will tell us if their views on aetiology have changed, after the verdict, which followed the release of previously unpublished Monsanto papers?