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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Special Report
Sherman: tycoon who revolutionized Canada drug industry
    2017-December-22  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

BARRY SHERMAN drove an old car and gave away tens of millions of dollars to charities while building Apotex into one of Canada’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

He and his wife Honey were widely mourned and praised for their philanthropy following their untimely deaths, but the Apotex chief antagonized many and faced accusations that he gouged consumers and smeared opponents during his life.

Sherman fought as many as 100 battles at a time in court to challenge drug patents and make way for Apotex’s generic prescriptions, or to fend off his cousins’ claims to the company he founded in 1974.

He also courted political controversy, triggering an investigation earlier this year into his fundraising for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals while Apotex heavily lobbied the federal government.

“Barry and Honey were kind, good people who will be greatly missed,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in comments that typified politicians’ reactions to their death.

“The philanthropic and economic contributions they have made to Toronto put them in a class of their own.”

Their four children described their parents as a blissfully happy couple preparing to travel to Florida for a year-end holiday with friends.

But a realtor who was helping them sell their Toronto house found them dead, and post-mortem examinations determined that the 75-year-old Apotex chairman and his 70-year-old wife died of strangulation.

Toronto police said they were investigating the “suspicious” deaths, but stopped short of calling them homicides.

Local media cited police as saying their deaths may have been a murder-suicide, a theory that was reportedly rejected by their children.

Police said there were no signs of forced entry and no suspects at large the public should be concerned about.

Initial post-mortem examinations showed the couple died from “ligature neck compression,” or strangulation from tying or binding, the Toronto Police Service has said.

Citing a “Toronto police source,” The Globe and Mail reported earlier this week that investigators were working on an early theory that Barry killed Honey before killing himself. The newspaper said the pair were found hanging from a railing near their basement pool.

The Toronto Sun also cited “sources close to the case” as saying that Honey may have been killed in another spot in the house, then moved to the basement, where she and Barry were discovered.

But media reports have put the Shermans’ family at odds with the police. The couple’s children slammed any notion of suicide.

“Our parents shared an enthusiasm for life and commitment to their family and community, totally inconsistent with the rumors regrettably circulated in the media as to the circumstances surrounding their deaths,” they said in a statement.

The couple had been planning a trip to Florida with their friends later in December, with Honey arriving Dec. 18 and Barry arriving a week later. The couple were discovered dead Dec. 15.

Honey wrote in an email to her friends Dec. 11, as cited by The Globe and Mail: “Looking forward to getting together in Florida. ... Please let me know your dates south ASAP so I can place in my calendar. Looking forward to hearing back ASAP. Xoxo Honey.”

Sherman was born to a Jewish family in Toronto in 1942. He was raised by his working mother after his father died when he was just a boy, and went on to earn degrees in physics and rocket science at the University of Toronto and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

Sherman learned the drug business — in which he would later make his billions — while working summers at his uncle Louis Winter’s Empire Laboratories, which made cheaper versions of Aspirin and other drugs.

After Winter died in 1965 and his wife died a month later, Sherman and a partner bought Empire and sold it to a U.S. competitor, then used part of the proceeds to start Apotex.

In 2006, Winter’s four sons sued Sherman for C$1 billion (US$779.7 million), alleging he had effectively cut them out of the family business. The four Winter brothers — Kerry, Jeffrey, Paul and Dana Winter — claim they’re collectively owed 20 percent of Sherman’s interest in Apotex, which would amount to millions of dollars.

The claim stems from an option in the sale of Empire Laboratories that would allow the Winter children to get jobs at their father’s old company as adults, along with a 5-percent share each in the company after working there for two years.

The Winter brothers argue the agreement means that Sherman made a commitment and has a fiduciary duty to them.

But the jobs and the shares never materialized.

Within a few years of the sale, Sherman was no longer controlling the company and had traded in his own remaining shares for shares in the U.S. company that had bought Empire, according to court records.

The legal battle was decades long and reportedly ugly. The suit was dismissed in September.

The Winter brothers’ lawyer, Brad Teplitsky said this week his clients will be moving forward with their appeal because they believe the judge made legal errors in dismissing the case.

Teplitsky told CBC Toronto his clients chose not to attend the funeral Thursday, and have had no contact with the Shermans since they’ve been “in litigation for many years.”

Over the following decades, Sherman would become known as a ruthless businessman who shunned the limelight while revolutionizing the drug industry in Canada.

Apotex grew to employ more than 11,000 people worldwide in an expansion that pitted it against the world’s biggest brand-name drugmakers, and today sells 300 generic drugs in 120 countries.

Sherman reportedly had an estimated worth of C$4.77 billion at the time of his death and was the 15th-richest person in Canada.

Though fabulously wealthy, the couple did not live like billionaires. They flew economy. Sherman drove a beat-up old car. And although they owned a grand house with a tennis court and two pools, it was modest compared with many even on their tree-lined, country-style street in the city’s north end.

Apotex said the couple made significant donations to universities, hospitals and charities over their lifetime. Honey, a fellow University of Toronto graduate and the daughter of Holocaust survivors, served on the boards of several foundations, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

But as might be expected of a business tycoon, Sherman also had his share of enemies.

“He was a deplorable human being,” said University of Ottawa law professor Amir Attaran, who published a comparison of Apotex’s domestic and overseas drug pricing.

“People tend to believe he did great things for generic drugs in Canada, but ... Canadians pay more for generic drugs than almost every other country,” he said.

“He sought to manipulate our system to enrich himself and impoverish Canadian patients who used his drugs.”

Since Sherman’s death, there has been an increased focus on his political lobbying.

Around the time of his death, Sherman was trying to quash an investigation into whether a political fundraiser he held for Prime Minister Trudeau in 2015 violated lobbying rules, the Toronto Star reported Tuesday.

In August 2015, Sherman hosted a US$1,500-per-head fundraiser for the Liberal Party at his house, which was attended by Trudeau, who went on to become prime minister two months later.

Since January, Canada’s federal lobbying commissioner has been investigating whether the fundraiser violated government rules, which say lobbyists cannot lobby officials they helped get elected.

Sherman sued the lobbying commissioner earlier this year in a bid to shut down the investigation. Canada’s lobbying commissioner, Karen Shepherd, confirmed Tuesday that the investigation would continue despite Sherman’s death.

An obituary in The Globe and Mail recalled Sherman’s reflections on life, writing that there is no God, no free will, no altruism and no morality.

“I find no inconsistency in holding intellectually that life has no meaning, while at the same time being highly motivated to survive and to achieve,” he said.

(SD-Agencies)

 

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