A year before his murder, Canadian billionaire and philanthropist Barry Sherman was developing a “pot pill” for medical marijuana patients, The Toronto Star exclusively reported on Sunday.
Sherman was the chairman and CEO of a generic drug firm, Apotex, and was the twelfth wealthiest Canadian. He was found dead on Dec. 15 with his wife, Honey, hanging side by side next to their indoor pool. Post-mortem examinations showed the cause of death for the two was “ligature neck compression.” However, investigations are still continuing to pinpoint the culprits.
Sherman: Pot Pill “Makes Sense”
“It makes sense,” Sherman reportedly told executives around a boardroom table over his new plans to develop the pill. “Let’s do it,” he added.
The pill his company intended to develop was for people suffering from chronic pain, depression, anxiety, seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder and other afflictions might one day benefit, investors in the project told the Toronto Star.
“I think Barry decided Apotex better get in on the ground level,” said Aubrey Dan, a businessman who is involved in the project, but was once a Sherman rival in the generic drug world. “Barry was a true entrepreneur. He has always been a risk taker.”
This new revelation could allude to a possibility over why he was killed. The marijuana pill could greatly hurt big pharmaceuticals’ revenues. Big Pharma’s profit from selling their highly addictive opioids pill, conventionally used to reduce pain.
Both Canada and the United States suffer from what is currently dubbed as the “opioid crisis.”
Last year, 4,000 Canadians died from opioid overdoses. In the western province of British Columbia, at least 1,422 people died of illicit drug overdose deaths, with fentanyl being a factor in 81 percent of those deaths.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is usually 50 times more potent than heroin.
Fentanyl is linked with more than 20,000 overdose deaths in 2016, according to some counts.
“Pot Pill” to Be His Greatest Legacy
If Sherman’s plans went through uninterrupted, Health Canada approval was expected to take up to two years, taking the pill mainstream after that.
People who worked with him told The Toronto Star the so-called “pot pill” will be one of his greatest legacies.
CannTurst, Apotex’s Partner
CannTrust Holdings Inc., a licensed producer of medical cannabis, was Apotex’s partner. CannTrust needed Apotex to start work on the science of creating the pills. But that would not be possible without Sherman’s permission.
Sherman, a scientist, had a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was briefed on the idea.
CannTurst owners, brothers Eric and Norman Paul, who are both pharmacists, speculated that the future of medical marijuana was in these pills that would deliver relief for six to eight hours.
“Barry went away and did his homework,” recalled Eric Paul, CEO of CannTrust. “Then everybody got on board.”
One investor told the Toronto Star that soldiers and others with PTSD “smoke and smoke and smoke to alleviate their symptoms.” Smoking, he said, provides short-term relief. A properly designed slow-release pill could help over a longer period.[share-btn]