10 Things You Didn’t Know about Mahen (Mike) Acharya

Mahen Acharya has been an influential figure when it comes to the Canadian pharmaceutical industry for a long time. However, it is interesting to note that he has now set his eyes south of the U.S.-Canada border, as shown by his roles as the founder, the CEO, and the Chairman of the Board for Apollo Pharmaceuticals.

1. Born in Nairobi, Kenya

Acharya was born in Nairobi, Kenya. For those who are unfamiliar, it started out as a rail depot on the Uganda Railway before proceeding to grow so much that it overtook the much older Mombasa, thus enabling it to become the capital of Kenya both before and after independence. Nowadays, Nairobi is very much a center of business as well as a center of culture for the East African country.

2. Used to Be Part of the Indian Diaspora in Africa

As such, Acharya was once a part of the Indian diaspora in Africa. Indians have been visiting East Africa since ancient times. However, the relationship was focused on trade rather than settlement, meaning that most Indians weren’t there to stay for the long run. It wasn’t until colonial times that a large number of Indians started settling in East Africa, though this wasn’t exactly consensual for most of them, seeing as how they went over as indentured labor. Similarly, the colonial period also saw a lot of Africans being brought over to India for much the same reason.

3. Went to the University of Bath

Education-wise, Acharya studied pharmacy at the University of Bath. Perhaps unsurprisingly, said school is situated in the city of Bath, which is named for its Roman-built baths. In any case, the University of Bath was one of the British schools either established or promoted in the 1960s because of the Robbins Report that recommended expanding universities. However, it can trace its roots to 1595 because it started out as the Merchant Venturers’ Technical College.

4. Went to Kingston, Ontario

Even now, Acharya has a strong connection with the city of Kingston in the Canadian province of Ontario, which makes sense because that is where he winded up when he immigrated. In the present time, Kingston is overshadowed by Toronto, but it is interesting to note that it was once the capital of United Canada. As for the name, Kingston comes from King’s Town, so it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that it is named for King George III of Great Britain because of Loyalist settlement following the American Revolution.

5. Founded Super Discount Drugs

Initially, Acharya was a pharmacist, so it makes sense that when he started up a business of his own, he started up a pharmacy. To be exact, he founded an entire chain of retail pharmacies called Super Discount Drugs, which managed to establish itself throughout Ontario in spite of considerable competition. Eventually, Acharya proved to be successful enough in this regard that he managed to sell his retail pharmacies to Shoppers Drug Mart for a handsome sum in the 1980s, thus freeing him to follow other pursuits.

6. Founded Trent Drug (Wholesale)

It isn’t uncommon for a successful entrepreneur to found a new business after making a nice profit by selling their last one. In Acharya’s case, he noticed that local independent pharmacies were being underserved by the existing wholesalers in Canada. As a result, he founded Trent Drug (Wholesale) to make up for that lack. By following a policy of providing both big and small pharmacies with individualized service that combined high value with low cost, Acharya made his second business a huge success. By the time that he sold it in 2005, it had become the third biggest business of its kind in Canada, operating from Canadian coast to Canadian coast.

7. Founded SteriMax

Afterwards, Acharya started another new business in another niche of the Canadian pharmaceutical industry. This time around, he decided to get involved in the production of pharmaceuticals. To be exact, SteriMax specializes in not just the production but also the marketing and distribution of parenteral products that are produced in smaller quantities. At first, Acharya had to buy branded products from other companies. Now, it has its own research and development capabilities, though it remains to be seen where SteriMax will go from its present position.

8. Big Golf Fan

It seems safe to say that Acharya has a strong interest in the pharmaceutical industry. After all, he wouldn’t be running a fourth business in said industry if he didn’t enjoy that kind of thing on a deep level. Never mind the fact that he also served on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management. However, Acharya does have interests outside of his line of business. For instance, he is apparently an avid tennis player. Similarly, he is a big fan of golf, so much so that he maintains memberships in no fewer than four golf clubs in both Canada and the United States.

9. Supporter of Kingston General Hospital

Acharya retains a strong connection to Kingston. For proof, look no further than the fact that he supports a number of institutions in the city, with an excellent example being Kingston General Hospital. Based on the name, it should come as no surprise to learn that this is an important healthcare provider for not just Kingston but also the surrounding area. However, there are a couple of other things that stand out about it. One, it is a teaching hospital affiliated with Queen’s University. Two, it is actually the oldest public hospital with most of its buildings still intact that is still operating in Canada, meaning that it counts as a National Historic Site of Canada.

10. Supporter of Grand Theatre

Similarly, Acharya is a supporter of the Grand Theatre, which is another institution of historical interest. This support is very important, seeing as how it has come very close to being shut down in the early 1960s after it had failed at being a cinema. If it wasn’t for the efforts of concerned citizens, the Grand Theatre would’ve been demolished in that time period. Fortunately, they intervened, with the result that it is still around to serve as a hub for cultural activities throughout the region.


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