Ira Katz receives 2021 NCPA Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year Award

Katz is known for his tireless effort in combating the opioid epidemic in his community, the organization said.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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Ira Katz, owner of Little Five Points Pharmacy in Atlanta, is the winner of the National Community Pharmacists Association 2021 Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year Award. Katz received the award on Oct. 11 at NCPA’s 123rd Annual Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The annual award, sponsored by Upsher-Smith, is given to a pharmacist who exhibits exemplary professional leadership, service to community and commitment to independent pharmacy. This year marks Upsher-Smith’s 13th year of sponsoring the prestigious award in conjunction with NCPA. The award is named in honor of Willard B. Simmons, a former executive secretary of NCPA (then known as the National Association of Retail Druggists) and a longtime trustee of the NCPA Foundation.

[Read more: NCPA Annual Convention honors pharmacists, students]

Katz opened the Little Five Points Pharmacy 40 years ago and has been recognized over the years for the contributions he’s made to his profession and community. As a pharmacist committed to reducing the number of lives lost due to opioid overdoses, Katz understands the importance of community education when it comes to opioid safety. Through his pharmacy, he provides naloxone (Narcan) administration education and has made the product available, free of charge, to those in the community, including local businesses and restaurants. Katz is a proud independent pharmacist and is frequently interviewed by local media outlets, sharing his knowledge and expertise with the community.

In addition to his service to the patient community, Katz is active within the professional community. He has been an NCPA member for more than 20 years. He is chairman of the board of the Georgia Academy of Independent Pharmacy where he has been a board member for more than 25 years, and he also serves on the AIP Alternative Income Committee. He is also a member of the Georgia Pharmacy Association, serving on its Governmental Affairs team.

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“Ira Katz has played an invaluable role as a community pharmacist, and we couldn’t be more pleased to help NCPA recognize his achievements,” said Rusty Field, president and CEO of Upsher-Smith. “Ira is a proven leader who has demonstrated that a pharmacist’s role goes far beyond dispensing medications. His efforts to educate and marshal resources to help those in need have single-handedly made a difference in people’s lives.”

“Ira’s leadership, dedication and commitment to community make him a deserving recipient of this year’s Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year Award,” said NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey. “Ira’s service to his community has saved lives and is unwavering. He is a prime example of the importance of community pharmacies to people in cities and towns across America. We are grateful to Upsher-Smith for its support in recognizing exemplary pharmacists like Ira Katz.”

CPESN USA, a clinically integrated, nationwide organization of pharmacy networks created to advance community-based pharmacy practice, announced the winner of the 2021 CPESN Luminary-of-the-Year Award, sponsored by Upsher-Smith.

Alison Haas, pharmacist and owner of Jackson Pharmacy & Wellness Center in Jackson Center, Ohio and lead luminary for CPESN Ohio, is the fifth winner of the annual award.

Haas was selected from dozens of nominations for CPESN luminaries across America. CPESN USA boasts over 280 of the best pharmacy owners from across the country leading its local networks. Nominations were reviewed and voted on by a team of national CPESN luminaries. The finalists were selected based on efforts and results in developing or leading a local CPESN Network. The three finalists were:

  • Haas;
  • Ben McNabb,  pharmacist and owner of Love Oak Pharmacy, in Eastland, Texas and lead luminary with CPESN Texas; and
  • Bruno Tching, pharmacist and owner of Inland Pharmacy in Hemet, Ca. and lead luminary with CPESN California.

“As the CPESN Luminary of the Year Award sponsor, Upsher-Smith is pleased to congratulate this year’s winner, Alison Haas,” said Mike McBride, Upsher-Smith vice president of partner relations. “CPESN Luminaries are distinguished individuals dedicated to advancing community-based pharmacy. We are proud to be a part of supporting CPESN USA’s mission and recognize the important work of its luminaries, like Alison, who work tirelessly to transform healthcare through the clinically integrated networks of community pharmacies they are helping to establish.”

“Our luminaries are the life blood of the CPESN movement. Many of the leaders of local, community pharmacy practice in America have been lighting the way for retail pharmacies as CPESN luminaries. This award celebrates one, but recognizes the volunteerism and hard work of 278 others,” said Joe Moose,  director of strategy and luminary development for CPESN USA. “Congratulations to Alison for being selected as this year’s CPESN Luminary of the Year. Her efforts in recruiting pharmacies, inspiring others, and working with payers to showcase the value of CPESN pharmacies has been exemplary.”