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PITTSBURGH — Mylan co-founder and former chairman and CEO Milan "Mike" Puskar died Saturday, the generic drug maker said. Puskar, who retired from Mylan as chairman in 2009, was 77.
"We were deeply saddened by the passing of Mike Puskar, a truly one-of-a-kind individual," Mylan chairman and CEO Robert Coury said. "Mike was a pioneer in many ways and helped to create the generics industry as we know it today. Those of us who knew Mike personally will always remember him as a strong leader, thoughtful mentor, generous benefactor and faithful friend."
Puskar, a former U.S. Army soldier, and fellow soldier Don Panoz formed Mylan in West Virginia in 1961, according to the company. Mylan originally was a distributor that bought finished goods and sold them to pharmacies and doctors, but won Food and Drug Administration approval to manufacture Penicillin G in 1966. In 2007, under Coury's leadership, Mylan bought a majority stake in India's Matrix Labs, thus making Mylan a global company. Since then, it has become the world's third-largest generic drug maker, and the largest in the United States.
"Mr. Puskar was a principal figure in the development of the modern generic industry, an extraordinary thought leader in the pharmaceutical community and a kind and generous individual whose innumerable charitable contributions continue to improve lives across our society," a statement by the Generic Pharmaceutical Association read. "His tireless efforts to ensure the highest quality in all facets of the generic drug business have set a standard in industry that will have a lasting impact for years to come."