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Joe Courtright earns school's top honor

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Joe Courtright has been named as the next recipient of the school’s highest honor, the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy Distinguished Service Award.

The 1989 graduate of the Pharm.D. Program will be honored in the spring of 2018 in Lawrence.  KU SOP Dean Ken Audus and Senior Associate Dean Gene Hotchkiss surprised Courtright with the news at his office in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Courtright was selected for the honor by a committee that includes school administrators and past Distinguished Service Award recipients.

Joe Courtright bio

Joe Courtright grew up in Baxter Springs, KS the youngest son of a community pharmacy owner.  His dad and uncle owned Milo Chew Drug for more than 25 years. In 1989, after graduating from the University Of Kansas School of Pharmacy, Courtright went to work for May’s Drug Stores, Inc as a staff pharmacist.

He progressed through the ranks at May’s Drug with positions as a pharmacy manager, director of pharmacy and director of special projects, ultimately earning the title of senior vice president of pharmacy and information technology.  During that time, the company expanded by 70%.  In 2003, May’s Drug Stores was named Pharmacy Chain of the Year by Drug Topics magazine.

In 2004, May’s Drug was acquired by USA Drug and Courtright was named vice president of operations for the west region. His duties included the merger of newly acquired Med-X Drug and May’s Drug Stores with USA Drug.  Additionally, Courtright oversaw the acquisitions program for the west region.

In 2006, Courtright was promoted to his most recent position, president and CEO of USA Drug Stores, headquartered in Pine Bluff, Arkansas with corporate offices in Little Rock.  In 2012, USA Drug operated 132 corporate locations and 157 total locations in eight states.  In addition to USA Drug, the stores operated under the banners of Super D Drugs, Med-X Drugs, Drug Warehouse and May’s Drug. It was the fourth largest retail pharmacy in the United States.

Highlights during Courtright’s tenure​

  • 71 retail pharmacy acquisitions
  • 2010 - Orchestrated the sale of the Memphis, TN market of USA Drug and Ike’s Deep Discount to Walgreens
  • 2010 - Purchased remaining shares of USA Drug owned by private equity firm Stephens, Inc., making USA Drug the largest privately held pharmacy chain in the US. The total valuation at purchase was $214 million
  • 2012 - Orchestrated the sale of USA Drug and seven subsidiary companies to Walgreens with a total purchase price in excess of $550 million. This represented a gain of $453 million and an IRR of 30.3% during Courtright’s leadership

Courtright is currently a principal with Dale Capital Partners, Inc., a family office investment corporation formed by the previous owners of USA Drug. Additionally, he is the president of CapRocq Pharma real estate fund. The investment thesis of the fund is to create arbitrage in the trading of NNN-leased retail pharmacy properties, using a higher level of underwriting based upon lengthy industry experience.

Courtright is a member of the University of Kansas Pharmacy Advisory Council, Associated Steel Group Board of Directors, KPH Healthcare Services, Inc. (dba as Kinney Drug) Board of Directors.  He is a former Chairman of the Board for Arkansas Neurosurgery as well as a previous member of the board of directors for NACDS (National Association of Chain Drug Stores), Data-Rx. Inc and the Chain Drug Consortium. 

Courtright is also an avid University of Kansas sports fan.



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2nd among all schools of pharmacy in National Institutes of Health funding
Brings more than $20 million in external funding into the state each year
7 of 19 cancer drugs formulated through the National Cancer Institute were developed at the KU School of Pharmacy
3,000 free flu shots given to needy Kansans during the past 5 years
4,000 living alumni, 63 percent of them living and working in Kansas
KU pharmacists practice in 95 of Kansas’ 105 counties
20th among public schools of pharmacy.
—U.S. News & World Report
$20.2 million NIH research grant earned by Distinguished Professor Jeff Aubé was 2nd largest in Kansas history
100 percent placement after graduation for KU Pharm.D. students
Established in 1885 as the 1st professional program at KU
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