Richest People

Canada’s Richest People: Bernard Sherman

Canada’s Richest People
Bernard Sherman
(Photo: Dick Loek/Toronto Star/Getty)

Bernard Sherman (1942–2017)

Net Worth:
$4.77 billion
(▲3.2% from 2017)

Rich 100 rank: #15
Change in rank from 2017: ▼1
Major company holdings: Apotex Group
Location: Toronto

Apotex founder Bernard (Barry) Sherman died on December 15, 2017, at his Toronto home, along with his wife, Honey. Police labeled the deaths “suspicious” and continue to investigate.

In 2016,Sherman emerged as an ardent supporter of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party. The chairman of Apotex, the largest producer of generic drugs in Canada, came under fire recently for helping to organize a $500-per-ticket pay-for-access fundraiser for the party. Apotex regularly lobbies the federal government, and Sherman pulled out of the event after federal lobbying commissioner Karen Shepherd began to investigate.

As the head of a Big Pharma company, Sherman has a knack for courting controversy. He spent 2015 embroiled in an 11-month, heavily publicized political firestorm after Health Canada banned imports from Apotex’s two factories in India. An investigation revealed widespread problems at the facilities, but a judge eventually ruled the conditions at the plants posed no serious health risks. More recently, Sherman’s cousins—the sons of the late uncle from whom Sherman bought his first pharmaceutical company—have reopened a lawsuit claiming Sherman owes them the equivalent of 20% of his interest in Apotex.

Sherman has spent his life building his pharmaceutical empire; after graduating from U of T engineering at the age of 16, he went on to study rocket science at MIT. As a student, he worked for his uncle’s pharmaceutical company, Empire Laboratories. When his mother died, he used her life savings to purchase the firm, renaming it Apotex. Today the company sells 300 generic drugs in 120 countries.

Updated Monday, December 18, 2017