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Pharmaceutical CEO, Caring for His Son, Found a Business Opportunity

Pharmaceutical CEO, Caring for His Son, Found a Business Opportunity


Howard Solomon

was chief govt of a New York-based mostly pharmaceutical company, Forest Laboratories Inc., in 1994 when his 31-calendar year-previous son Andrew sank into a deep melancholy. The elder Mr. Solomon invited his son back again into the spouse and children residence in Manhattan, aided nurse him and searched for medications that could enable.

That search enhanced Mr. Solomon’s desire in an antidepressant sold in Europe by a Danish corporation, H. Lundbeck AS. He approached Lundbeck about the possibility that Forest Labs could license the antidepressant for sale in the U.S. Lundbeck’s CEO, Erik Sprunk-Jansen, in the beginning was unwilling to take into account the idea.

Mr. Solomon, unwilling to give up, explained to Mr. Sprunk-Jansen that he occurred to be viewing Copenhagen and prompt a meeting. Mr. Sprunk-Jansen proposed lunch the upcoming working day. Mr. Solomon flew to Europe on a Concorde jet, and the two men bonded, partly more than their mutual adore of ballet. The consequence was a licensing arrangement for the antidepressant, offered as Celexa in the U.S., that made Forest Labs a much bigger player in pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Solomon died Jan. 8 at his property in Bedford Hills, N.Y. He was 94 many years outdated and had been underneath cure for an an infection.

His endeavours to understand his son’s melancholy and help him find effective procedure deepened bonds in between them, as explained in Andrew Solomon’s 2001 book, “The Noonday Demon,” a Nationwide Book Award winner. His father, Andrew Solomon wrote, “canceled all other programs to be with me,” promised greater days forward and slice foodstuff into bite-sized items when the younger gentleman observed that much too complicated.

The son committed the e book to his father, “who gave me existence not as soon as, but 2 times.”

Howard Solomon survived battles with federal regulators and served as CEO of Forest Labs right up until his mid-80s. He served as chairman of the New York Town Ballet and as a member of the govt committee of the board of the Metropolitan Opera.

Martin Howard Solomon, generally recognized as Howard, was born Aug. 12, 1927, and grew up in the Bronx. His father, a Jewish immigrant from Romania, created neckties from dress remnants. All over age 11, when viewing a friend’s property, he read opera recordings. He was motivated to just take piano lessons and found a job advertising librettos in the lobby of the Metropolitan Opera.

While not “particularly attentive in elementary faculty,” according to his son Andrew, he scored significant adequate on tests to gain admittance to the elite Bronx Significant College of Science.

At Town School of New York, he examined record and graduated in 1949 right after serving as a secretary to the commanding officer at an air foundation in Hawaii. At Yale Regulation College, he served as an editor of the regulation journal and graduated in 1952.

He labored at New York law companies in advance of location up his personal legal practice, when branching into company projects, which include the Bowla Bowla chain of bowling alleys in New Jersey. In 1961, he married Carolyn Bower, a graduate of Smith School.

A single of his clientele appointed him to the board of Forest Labs, then a small company producing drugs, candy and ice cream. Best executives of Forest Labs resigned amid a monetary scandal at the company, and Mr. Solomon was persuaded to phase in as CEO in 1977.

Right after offering the candy and ice product enterprises, he concentrated to begin with on generic prescription drugs and then started licensing medicine to be marketed underneath the company’s personal manufacturer names.

Gross sales surged immediately after 1998, when Forest Labs started providing Celexa, a competitor of antidepressants such as Prozac. In 2003, the business been given Foodstuff and Drug Administration acceptance to sector Namenda for Alzheimer’s illness.

Together with other pharmaceutical providers, Forest Labs was ensnared in a federal govt crackdown on marketing techniques. In 2009, the Justice Department alleged that the company improperly promoted Celexa for use in youngsters and compensated kickbacks to motivate doctors to prescribe the drug. The authorities also accused the firm of failing to disclose a clinical research that established Celexa was ineffective for pediatric use.

In 2010, Forest Labs agreed to shell out $313 million to settle the prices. Mr. Solomon wasn’t personally accused of wrongdoing. The U.S. Division of Health and Human Solutions threatened to power his resignation from Forest Labs but backed off immediately after protests from the organization and major business enterprise teams.

Forest Labs also arrived less than stress from an activist investor,

Carl Icahn,

who acquired a stake and ultimately acquired illustration on the company’s board. In 2013, as he approached his 86th birthday, Mr. Solomon introduced he would retire at year’s conclusion. “I believe the enterprise is entitled to the rigorous assurances of continuity that a more youthful main government can offer,” he explained.

In 2014, new administration bought Forest Labs to Actavis PLC of Dublin for about $28 billion.

Mr. Solomon’s first wife died in 1991. By his guidance of the arts, he fulfilled Sarah Billinghurst, who was an govt at the Metropolitan Opera. They married in 2003. She survives him, along with two sons and five grandchildren.

Marco Taglietti recalled assembly Mr. Solomon in 2007 for a position interview. They expended just about an hour regaling each and every other with recollections of their most loved operatic performances, then ran out of time and had to plan a different meeting to focus on the occupation. Dr. Taglietti was employed as chief health-related officer.

At the time of his death, his spouse and children claimed, Mr. Solomon was listening to a favorite opera, “Der Rosenkavalier.”

Write to James R. Hagerty at [email protected]

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