Barry Sherman

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Bernard Sherman
Bernard Charles Sherman

(1942-02-25)February 25, 1942[1][2]
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedDecember 15, 2017(2017-12-15) (aged 75)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
ResidenceNorth York, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Alma materUniversity of Toronto (BS)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD)
Known forPharmaceutical industry
Net worthUS$3.2 billion
(December 2017)[3]
TitleChairman and CEO of Apotex
Spouse(s)Honey Sherman
FamilyLouis Lloyd Winter (uncle)

Bernard Charles "Barry" Sherman, CM[4] (February 25, 1942 – December 15, 2017) was a Canadian businessman and philanthropist who was chairman and CEO of Apotex Inc. With an estimated net worth of US$3.2 billion at the time of his death, according to Forbes, Sherman was the 12th-wealthiest Canadian.[3][5] Another publication, Canadian Business, stated his fortune at $4.77 billion (CAD), ranking him the 15th richest in Canada.[5] Sherman and his wife were murdered in their home by unknown assailants, according to Toronto Police who are still investigating the case.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Sherman was born into a Jewish family in Toronto[7] to Herbert Dick "Hyman" Sherman (1906–1952),[8] a business partner for a zipper company,[1] and Sara "Sarah" Sherman (née Winter; 1910–1971),[9] an occupational therapist after her husband's death.[10] His grandparents from both sides had fled persecution of Jews in Russia and Poland.[1] His father died from heart attack when Bernard was still young at the age of 10.[1][11] He won a national physics contest while attending the Forest Hill Collegiate Institute and graduated with top marks.[12] He entered the University of Toronto's engineering science program at age 16, believed to be the youngest to do so.[13] The same year, he signed up for a Canadian Army organized student militia.[1] He graduated with the highest honours in his class and received the university's Governor General's Award for his thesis.[14] In 1967, he completed a PhD in astrophysics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[15]

During high school and while at the University of Toronto, Sherman often worked for his uncle Louis Lloyd Winter, at his Empire Laboratories, then Canada's largest wholly owned pharmaceutical company.[16] When his uncle would travel, Sherman often helped watch over the operations.[14]


In 1967, after completing his PhD, Sherman purchased the Empire Group of Companies from the executor of the estate of his aunt and uncle, Beverley and Louis Lloyd Winter, as both had died seventeen days apart in November 1965, leaving four orphaned young children: Paul Timothy, Jeffrey Andrew, Kerry Joel Dexter, and Dana Charles.[14][17] Prior to the purchase, Empire was the first to secure the compulsory rights to manufacture Hoffmann-La Roche's Valium (diazepam), and was one of Canada's largest manufacturers of Pfizer's Vibramycin (doxycycline), Upjohn Company's Orinase (tolbutamide), and the dietary sweetener saccharin. To facilitate the corporate acquisition, Sherman along with his high school friend, Joel Ulster (Sherman and Ulster Limited), offered 5% equity options to each of the four children and a 15-year royalty on four of its patented products.[18]

In 1970 he invested in New York's Barr Laboratories with US-based partners, became its largest shareholder and served as Barr's president.[19] As of 2000, he controlled about 33% of Barr Laboratories' stock. Barr won the first rights to manufacture generic versions of Eli Lilly's Prozac. Today, Barr Laboratories' is a part of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world's largest generic drug maker,[20] following Teva's acquisition of Barr Pharmaceuticals in 2008.[21]

In January 1972, Sherman and Ulster Limited sold Empire Laboratories to the Quebec-based Canadian operations of publicly traded International Chemical and Nuclear (ICN) of California, for 57,000 shares (Valeant Pharmaceuticals). In 1973, Sherman started Apotex with a few former Empire Laboratories' personnel and he incorporated it in 1974. This privately owned and Sherman-controlled company claims to be Canada's largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical manufacturer.[22] Sherman also became involved in Nutraceutical manufacturing and other businesses, founding NION (National Institute of Nutrition) with Richard Kashenberg. He later sold the company to Schiff and continued on to Apotex.

By 2016, Apotex employed over 10,000 people as one of Canada's largest drug manufacturers, with over 260 products selling in over 115 countries. Revenues were about $1.5 billion annually.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Sherman married Honey Reich (1948–2017),[24] in 1971,[25] a fellow University of Toronto graduate born in 1948 (sic) in Austria to Polish Holocaust survivors.[26][27] They had four children,[28][13] a son, Jonathon, and three daughters, Lauren, Alexandra and Kaelen.[29][12]

Sherman, with his wife, donated a record $50 million to the United Jewish Appeal.[30] They provided funds to build a major addition to the geriatric Baycrest centre,[31] and to other Toronto-area community centres in Ontario.[14] The couple were also major donors to the United Way.[32] As well, the Apotex Foundation had sent over $50 million worth of medicine to disaster zones since 2007.[14][33][5]

Reputation and personality[edit]

Sherman had a mixed reputation, or what the National Post called "Two Legacies".[34] Toronto Mayor John Tory said "Barry and Honey were kind, good people" and Sherman was widely praised for his philanthropic giving.[35]

Sherman was called "a deplorable human being" in reference to his business practices, by University of Ottawa law professor Amir Attaran who claimed that he gouged Canadians with high drug prices: "Canadians pay more for generic drugs than almost every other country. He sought to manipulate our system to enrich himself and impoverish Canadian patients who used his drugs", he said.[35] He accused Sherman of crossing intellectual property right ethical lines to "fight as many as 100 battles at a time in court to challenge drug patents and make way for Apotex's generic prescriptions" with little end benefit to consumers.[35][36] As told in Jeffrey Robinson's 2001 book "Prescription Games: Money, Ego and Power Inside the Pharmaceutical Industry", Sherman himself acknowledged the long-running conflict between Apotex and the major pharmaceutical companies over drug patents, saying "The branded drug companies hate us. They have private investigators on us all the time. The thought once came to my mind: why didn't they just hire someone to knock me off?"[37]

In 2011, the Winter children (his cousins) sued Sherman alleging he never paid royalties and equity in Apotex, contending Sherman had used the proceeds from the 1972 sale of their late father's business Empire to buy Apotex in 1973.[38] The cousins sought a 20% interest in Apotex or damages of $1 billion. Sherman responded by withdrawing millions of dollars in financial assistance to his cousins. The cousins' contended that Sherman "had offered the financial assistance in the first place in order to make the cousins dependent on him, and to keep them from learning about their rights to the business", though this was denied by Sherman.[34][39][40] In September 2017, an Ontario Superior Court justice ruled against the cousins, saying the case was "wishful thinking, and beyond fanciful."[40][41] At the time of the judgement, a lawyer for the cousins said they would appeal, though no appeal occurred, and Sherman died a few months later under unknown circumstances.[40]

At the time of his death, Sherman was under investigation because of a fundraiser he had held for Justin Trudeau in April 2015, allegedly contrary to Canada's lobbying rules.[42] Sherman filed a lawsuit in May 2016, attempting to quash the investigation. "There is basis to conclude that Mr. Sherman is in breach of ... the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct as a consequence of his involvement in the organization of a fundraising event for the (Liberal Party)," according to Phil McIntosh, director of investigations at the Office of the Lobby Commissioner. If that had been proven, Sherman would have been banned from lobbying for five years.[43]

A partial draft of his unpublished memoir, called Legacy of Thoughts, was submitted as part of Sherman's motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit brought by his orphaned cousins. He described the manuscript as his observations on philosophy, Canadian politics and the pharmaceutical industry.[44] Sherman did not believe in God, free will, altruism or morality.[35] "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 once said.[35]

Barry Sherman was targeted by the Canadian wing of the Jewish Defense Force, a group on the FBI`s terrorist list, and had been sued by Israel`s largest generic-drug maker, Teva.[45][46]


On December 15, 2017, police officers were called to Sherman's home at 50 Old Colony Road in North York, Toronto, by the couple's real estate agent,[47] where they discovered the bodies of Sherman and his wife hanging side by side next to their indoor pool. The deaths are being treated as "suspicious" and the Toronto Police Service Homicide Squad has taken the lead in the investigation, because this unit is the "most experienced in dealing with sudden unexpected deaths".[48][40][33] Post-mortem examinations showed the cause of both deaths was "ligature neck compression",[49] which is ligature strangulation caused by binding or tying.[50] Ligature strangulation is usually distinguished from hanging by the strangling force being something other than the person's own body weight.[51]

Toronto Police Service had previously told the news media that there was no indication of forced entry into the Sherman home and that their investigation does not include a search for any suspects.[47] Although there was no note left by the deceased,[52] police sources told the Toronto Star on December 15 or 16, 2017, that they were "probing the possibility that they were a murder–suicide".[53] In response, the couple's four children issued a statement urging the police to conduct a thorough criminal investigation and chastised the police for leaking a murder-suicide theory.[41][54] They also contacted Toronto lawyer Brian Greenspan to retain a private investigator to look into the deaths.[55] He hired Tom Klett, a retired Toronto Police detective who has worked in the homicide, drug, and intelligence bureaus.[56] The family also hired Dr. David Chiasson, the retired chief forensic pathologist for Ontario, to conduct another autopsy.[57][58]

On January 20, 2018, the Toronto Star published an exclusive report based on anonymous sources from the family's investigation team who said that the deaths were murders: the couple was strangled by belts after their hands were tied. These investigators had not yet gained access to the Sherman home. "People providing information for this story are not identified as they were not authorized to discuss the case," according to the Star. When contacted by a reporter, a Toronto Police spokesman reiterated the position that they were treating the deaths as "suspicious".[59] On January 26, Toronto Police advised the news media that their investigation concluded that the couple had been murdered in a targeted attack.[60] At the time, they would not discuss any possible suspects, but planned to interview everyone who had access to the home prior to the deaths via the lockbox that was previously installed by the real estate agent.[6] The police investigation has encountered resistance at Apotex headquarters, with a police spokesman saying "Legal complexities in some executions have been challenging given the litigious nature of Barry Sherman's businesses, in particular the search and seizure of electronics in Barry Sherman's workspace at Apotex".[36]

The police investigation was still continuing in September 2018 when detectives obtained seven search warrants in addition to the 21 previously obtained. Detective Dennis Yim told a court that "investigators are methodically reviewing material and pursuing different investigative avenues".[61]

In late October 2018, lawyer Brian Greenspan announced that the family had offered a $10 million reward in the couple's murder investigation for any information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of a suspect. At the same time, he complained about the police investigation, claiming that it had failed to collect important evidence.[62] Police Chief Mark Saunders later told the news media that a forensic pathologist has been working on the case, in addition to over 50 officers, interviewing 200 witnesses and collecting over 2,000 hours of video surveillance from neighboring homes. When asked if police would be willing to work with the independent experts to be convened by Greenspan, Saunders replied in the positive, but only if the group would be accepted in a court proceeding.[63]


  1. ^ a b c d e Hagerty, James R. (5 January 2018). "Barry Sherman Complained of Fatigue but Earned Billions on Generic Drugs". Wall Street Journal.
  2. ^ "Bernard Sherman Success Story". Success Story. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b Tindera, Michela (15 December 2017). "Canadian Pharmaceuticals Billionaire And Wife Found Dead In Toronto Mansion". Forbes. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Bernard Charles Sherman: Executive Profile & Biography – Bloomberg". Retrieved 16 December 2017.
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  6. ^ a b Donovan, Kevin (26 January 2018). "Barry and Honey Sherman were murdered, police say". Toronto Star. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  7. ^ "The world's 50 Richest Jews: 41-50". The Jerusalem Post. 2010-09-07.
  8. ^ "Herbert Dick Sherman".
  9. ^ "Sara Sherman".
  10. ^ Wilde, Paul (26 December 2017). "Barry Sherman: A fierce fighter who helped revolutionize Canada's drug industry". The Globe And Mail.
  11. ^ R. Wootson Jr., Cleve (17 December 2017). "Billionaire philanthropists found dead in basement under suspicious circumstances, police say". The Washington Post.
  13. ^ a b Gibson, Victoria; Doherty, Brennan; Kerr, Jaren; McKeen, Alex (15 December 2017). "Apotex billionaire Barry Sherman and his wife Honey found dead". Retrieved 17 December 2017 – via Toronto Star.
  14. ^ a b c d e "Barry Sherman ranks high both in wealth and philanthropy - The Canadian Jewish News". 19 August 2017. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  15. ^ Gloria Tessler (December 28, 2017). "Obituary: Bernard 'Barry' Sherman". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  16. ^ Parke Davis v. Empire Laboratories [1963], 41 C.P.R. 121; Parke, Davis & Co. v. Empire Laboratories Ltd., [1964] S.C.R. 351
  17. ^ Dobby, Christine (24 January 2012). "Architect of a Well-Laid Plan". National Post. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  18. ^ Globe and Mail, November 24, 2007
  19. ^ "Bernard (Barry) Sherman, The World's Richest People -". Forbes.
  20. ^ "The top 15 generic drugmakers by 2016 revenue - FiercePharma". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  21. ^ "PLIVA - TEVA COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF BARR". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  22. ^ About Apotex Archived 2012-03-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ "Bernard (Barry) Sherman". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  24. ^ "Honey Sherman".
  25. ^ TU THANH HA (December 22, 2017). "Who were Barry and Honey Sherman?". Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  26. ^ McBride, Jessica (19 December 2017). "Honey Sherman: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.
  27. ^ Brad Hunter (December 23, 2017). "The life and tumultuous times of Barry and Honey Sherman". Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  28. ^ Gray, Jeff (December 15, 2017). "Apotex founder Barry Sherman and wife found dead in Toronto home". The Globe and Mail.
  29. ^ "'Together they were everything,' Shermans' son says at Mississauga memorial". CityNews. 21 December 2017.
  30. ^ "Apotex founder Barry Sherman, wife found dead in North York home". CityNews. December 15, 2017.
  31. ^ Love, Myron (August 19, 2017). "Barry Sherman ranks high both in wealth and philanthropy". Canadian Jewish News.
  32. ^ "Community Circle - United Way Toronto & York Region". Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  33. ^ a b Gillis, Wendy; Harris, Tamar (16 December 2017). "Police investigating possible murder-suicide in deaths of billionaire and his wife". Retrieved 17 December 2017 – via Toronto Star.
  34. ^ a b Claire Brownell (December 22, 2017). "Two legacies, one dark mystery: Toronto elite reeling after violent deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman". National Post. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  35. ^ a b c d e Michael Comte (December 18, 2017). "Sherman: ruthless tycoon who revolutionized Canada drug industry". AFP via Yahoo! News. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  36. ^ a b [1]
  37. ^ [2]
  38. ^ "Orphans Fight RBC's Royal Trust and Apotex's Barry Sherman in Canada's Largest Lawsuits". Marketwired. 2011-05-26.
  39. ^ "Architect of a well-laid plan". Financial Post. 2012-12-01.
  40. ^ a b c d Adrian Humphrys (December 15, 2017). "Toronto billionaire and wife were found hanging in mansion". Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  41. ^ a b Catherine Porter (December 17, 2017). "Toronto Buzzes With Talk of Billionaire Couple's Suspicious Death". New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  42. ^ "Drug company embroiled in Liberal cash-for-access controversy is still lobbying the federal government". 22 November 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  43. ^ Harris, Tamar; Oved, Marco Chown (19 December 2017). "Barry Sherman was under investigation for breaking lobbying rules". Retrieved 21 December 2017 – via Toronto Star.
  44. ^ Alex MCkeens (December 20, 2017). "Barry Sherman wrote frankly about atheist convictions in unfinished memoir". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  45. ^ Anne Kingston (April 5, 2018). "The other side of Barry Sherman". Maclean's.
  46. ^
  47. ^ a b Aguilar, Bryann (17 December 2017). "Homicide investigators take over case of billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman". Retrieved 21 December 2017 – via Toronto Star.
  48. ^ Gillis, Wendy; Katawazi, Miriam; Isai, Vjosa (18 December 2017). "Sherman deaths probe: What happened inside 50 Old Colony Rd.?". Retrieved 21 December 2017 – via Toronto Star.
  49. ^ "Investigation into two suspicious deaths, 50 Old Colony Road, Victims identified, Causes of death released" (Press release). Toronto Police Service. December 17, 2017.
  50. ^ Fred Barbash (December 18, 2017). "Billionaire Toronto couple died of 'ligature neck compression.' Homicide detectives investigating". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  51. ^ J. A. J. Ferris. "Asphyxia". Archived from the original on 2009-09-27.
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  54. ^ "Statement from the Family of Barry and Honey Sherman". Apotex Inc. December 16, 2017. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  55. ^ Fakiha Bail (December 20, 2017). "Lawyer Brian Greenspan to help Sherman family conduct own investigation". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  56. ^ Syed, Fatima; Poisson, Jayme (27 December 2017). "Retired Toronto homicide detective probing Shermans' deaths". Retrieved 10 January 2018 – via Toronto Star.
  57. ^ Donovan, Kevin (19 January 2018). "Barry and Honey Sherman were murdered, private investigators claim" – via Toronto Star.
  58. ^ "Two legacies, one dark mystery: Toronto elite reeling after violent deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman". 23 December 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  59. ^ Donovan, Kevin (19 January 2018). "Barry and Honey Sherman were murdered, private investigators claim" – via Toronto Star.
  60. ^ Fox, Sandie Benitah and Chris (26 January 2018). "Barry, Honey Sherman were targeted, victims of double homicide: Police".
  61. ^ Donovan, Kevin (30 September 2018). "Sherman murder probe obtains seven more search warrants". Toronto Star.
  62. ^ "Family offers $10-million reward in Sherman murder case". Toronto Star. 26 October 2018.
  63. ^ "Family of Barry and Honey Sherman offers reward of up to $10M for information about killings". Toronto Star. 26 October 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2018.

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