Supporting Innovation in Pharmacy for a Healthier Canada

Ray's lessons for pharmacy (and life)


2018 Pillar of Pharmacy Winner

January 2019 - The Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy was very pleased to recognize Ray Murphy, founder of Murphy’s Pharmacies in Prince Edward Island (PEI), as the Foundation’s Pillar of Pharmacy in 2018. Since opening his first pharmacy in 1981, Murphy has achieved numerous successes as a pharmacist, businessman and entrepreneur, and has dedicated his energy and time to his community in many different ways. 

Murphy has established 13 pharmacies in PEI, as well as walk-in clinics, a home health care store and travel medicine clinic. Murphy’s Pharmacies also provide ongoing support to Murphy’s Community Centre in Charlottetown, PEI.

Looking back over his long career in pharmacy, Ray shares some of his learnings and offers a few “pearls of wisdom” for pharmacists today.

How did it feel to be called a pillar of pharmacy?

I was surprised, honored and humbled. It was awfully nice of the Foundation to recognize me, but it’s not all about me, it’s about all of us: pharmacists and others working at our pharmacies. Also, with celebrations and accolades, sometimes significant others don’t get recognized. My wife, Carolyn, has been a constant source of strength, support and inspiration. I’m very proud of my wife and family, my children and grandchildren. My son, Ryan, is president of Murphy’s Pharmacies now and our oldest son Jeff is CEO. I’m very proud of my wife, children, their spouses and grandchildren.

When you chose the tagline Feeling better starts here for Murphy’s Pharmacies were you sharing a lifelong philosophy?

Yes, we help people every way we can. We try to treat everyone with dignity and respect. To me it’s important. I feel that you really can’t live a fulfilling day without caring for people. Helping people anonymously, even those who may never be able to repay you is the type of service that is gratifying and fulfilling.

You started with one pharmacy and now have 13 locations.  Did you always intend to expand your business?  

Carolyn and I had a 20-year strategic plan. Our goal was to do something every two years, maybe buy land or open a pharmacy or a clinic. We achieved our goal and we continue to grow where possible. 


When you call Murphy’s Pharmacies, it’s your voice, your greeting on the answering service. Have you felt it important to maintain a personal touch as your company expanded? 

Yes. We’ve grown but we want people to know that we are still here and are committed to continuing to make their life better. People need to see that you are sincere, that you have compassion for them and care. We are here to truly help and make a difference. Our pharmacists and staff do care and will go the extra mile. Hearing our voice reinforces that we are still involved every day.

What have you observed during your career that you would have liked to change, if able? 

I became a pharmacist to help people with their medications and to provide counselling. It’s disappointing when I see pharmacies where the focus is on the bottom line. I think as a society we are too materialistic. I believe in the saying that we humans too often love things and use people whereas we really should be using things and loving people

You must have seen many changes in pharmacy during your long career. What would you like to see change? 

I’m pleased to see that changes are coming, especially with scopes of practice. In Canada, there’s more that we can do. We are moving far too slowly. Physicians are trained to diagnose; pharmacists are trained on drugs. I believe pharmacists should be part of the overall treatment of patients and able to recommend medications based on diagnosis. Pharmacists should have the ability to prescribe, which would contribute to the overall advancement of patient care. 

 

Ray Murphy’s pharmacy career path (so far)

Ray Murphy: 

  • Received the Order of Canada (2017), Honorary Degree from the University of Prince Edward Island (2016), Senate 150 Medal (2016), Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2016), PEI Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame (2009), the Order of Prince Edward Island (2007) and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • Received the Canadian Pharmacists Association’s Meritorious Service Award (2012) and Patient Care Achievement Award (2008) 
  • Was named by the Canadian Pharmacists Association as one of Canada’s 100 most influential pharmacists (2007)
  • Was president of the PEI Pharmacy Association from 1994-1996
  • Graduated from Dalhousie University's College of Pharmacy in 1973