Canadian Competition Bureau settles with Apotex founder, Barry Sherman

Weeks after he was found dead, Barry Sherman, the founder of Canadian pharmaceutical company Apotex, had resolved a long-standing dispute with the Canadian Competition Bureau and agreed to pay a fine of $100 million and cooperate with the bureau’s efforts to investigate competition and price-fixing that allegedly affected some of the world’s best-selling drugs, the agency said Tuesday.

The settlement only resolves antitrust violations in Canada. Apotex, which is headquartered in Montreal, is based in the British Columbia, Canada, city of Richmond. It was not immediately clear if Sherman was aware of the potential that his actions could violate the Anti-Trust Act in the United States, where the government has repeatedly reached out to Apotex in the past two years to investigate price-fixing in the generic drugs market. The bureau’s investigation, which has not been completed, “contains allegations against other Canadian pharmaceutical manufacturers,” the bureau said in a statement.

The bureau filed the case in December 2014, alleging that Apotex had conspired to eliminate rival firms that were challenging its sale and marketing of generic versions of prescription drugs that would be sold for a lower price.

“The Bureau and Apotex ultimately resolved the dispute, including whether Apotex and other manufacturers referred to here would be subject to penalties under the Competition Act, in June 2019,” according to the bureau. The bureau asked that Apotex pay $200 million, but the agreement for a $100 million fine only directly impacts Apotex.

“I am pleased to have reached a resolution with the Bureau,” said Donald Hunter, Apotex’s managing director, in a statement. “Apotex is focused on the business of providing safe, high-quality generic pharmaceuticals to patients and the well-being of our employees.”

Sherman’s grandson, Barry Imhof, will serve as the interim chairman of Apotex.

The success of some of the drugs the company produces are getting scrutiny in courtrooms around the country.

In July, a federal judge in New York granted class action status to the lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 30,000 people who received the anti-psychotic medication Risperdal from three pharmaceutical companies that merged in 2001.

The lawsuit alleges that the lawsuit should be certified as a class action because drug sales for which the plaintiffs were supposed to be paid were not reported. The lawsuit, which was first filed in 2012, states that Risperdal and the combination drugs Mellaril and Telaprevir were “not eligible for” rebate payments under the Medicare Part D program.

Risperdal has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other disorders. It is marketed as Daliresp, Daliresp Extended Release, Incrusea, Suvorexant and Enablex.

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