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Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy Announces 2013 Pillar of Pharmacy Award winner

Posted On July 08, 2013

Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy Announces 2013 Pillar of Pharmacy Award winner

Toronto – The Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy (CFP) is pleased to announce Mr. Murray Koffler as this year's Pillar of Pharmacy Award winner. "Over the years, Mr. Koffler has done so much for the progress and contribution that community pharmacy has made to Canadian healthcare. His passion and commitment to the advancement of pharmacy in Canada is a perfect fit with distinguished past Pillar award winners," says CFP's Executive Director Dayle Acorn.

Murray Koffler calls himself “just a simple pharmacist”. But he is much more than that. All through his career in retail pharmacy, Murray was an innovator. His first departure, was the removal of soda fountains from the Koffler stores, a move viewed as radical by his peers. He focused on making the dispensary the main emphasis of the store and encouraged the pharmacists to wear starched white coats, emphasizing the professional nature of their role.

From the first community pharmacy in a major shopping mall in Don Mills, to the Associate concept of independent business ownership, to the birth of Shoppers Drug Mart with mass merchandising and selfservice for customers, Murray reshaped retail pharmacy in Canada forever. Today, the Company has more than 1,295 drug stores across the country.

In addition to growing the Associate-owned store network, Murray was also passionate about pharmacy education. The Koffler Institute was established to provide educational courses for personnel at all levels of the Company. This opened up new opportunities in training and job enrichment among Associate-owners and employees alike. He also established a strong tradition of investing in pharmacy education. In tribute to Murray, as he retired as chairman of SDM in 1985, arrangements were made between Shoppers and the University of Toronto to erect a building to be part of the Faculty of Pharmacy to be known as the Koffler Institute of Pharmacy Management. The Institute was designed to provide management expertise to its students and to practicing pharmacists across Ontario.

Mr. Koffler’s commitment to giving back did not stop at pharmacy education. He founded the Council on Drug Abuse (CODA), in the late ‘60’s, and in 1975, he was instrumental in launching, Consumer Spokesman a publically offer program, making volunteer pharmacists available to talk to community groups on drug and health matters related to the profession.

"Leadership is critical to any profession or business. Murray Koffler demonstrated strong leadership as a pharmacist and in the evolution of pharmacy business in Canada. His reinvestment has supported the ongoing development of the profession. CFP is very pleased to recognize his leadership through our Pillar of Pharmacy award." Marnie Mitchell, CFP President.

“Murray’s impact and influence on pharmacy in Canada is undeniable. His passion and dedication to the role that pharmacy plays in the lives of Canadian is unwavering, even today. Not only has Murray made an incredible contribution to the profession of pharmacy, he has also helped to shape part of Canada’s identity.” Domenic Pilla, President &CEO, Shoppers Drug Mart.

In 2012, Mr. Koffler was highly visible as Shoppers Drug Mart celebrated their 50th anniversary. He is still revered as the man who started it all, while all the time continuing to maintain that he was and is “just a simple pharmacist”.

Mr. Koffler’s outstanding contribution to the profession of pharmacy will be formally recognized at an upcoming Pillar of Pharmacy gala awards dinner this fall.

For more information on the Gala Award evening. please contact:
Dayle Acorn, Executive Director, CFP P: 905-997-3238 E: dacorn@cfpnet.ca