Legacy Lives On: Community Pharmacy Practice Award Presented to Robert J. “Joey” McLaughlin

M. Keith Fearing, Jr., a 1941 Campbell graduate and founding member of the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (CPHS), left a legacy of patient dedication, community engagement and professional involvement. To honor his legacy, CPHS established the M. Keith Fearing, Jr. Community Pharmacy Practice Award 20 years ago and select recipients based on Fearing’s legacy.


The 2017 award recipient is Robert J. “Joey” McLaughlin. He was presented the award by Mrs. Lib Fearing, widow of M. Keith Fearing, during a luncheon on April 20. In attendance was Campbell University President, Dr. J. Bradley Creed, who spoke about the pharmacy program as a “central part of the progression of growth of the university.”


McLaughlin was lauded by several people during the event. Jay Campbell, president of the NC Board of Pharmacists, said, “there is no finer person to receive this award. Joey is a friend and mentor, always optimistic, and unstinting in giving his time, advice and counsel.”


Dr. Andy Bowman, CPHS clinical assistant professor of Pharmacy Practice and director of Continuing Education, said, “Joey and his team find a way to care for his patients that leave them in much better health than when they started.”


Fearing compared her husband and McLaughlin noting that both men graduated from UNC and have dedicated their lives to pharmacy and to encouraging young pharmacists to be involved in the community and in the profession. She welcomed McLaughlin to the elite group of community pharmacists who serve the profession with love, honor and dignity.


Dr. Michael L. Adams, dean of the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, thanked McLaughlin for his service to the pharmacy profession and heartily congratulated him as the 20th recipient of the prestigious award.


Upon accepting the award, McLaughlin said that being a pharmacist has fulfilled and inspired him for more than 30 years and that he was humbled by the honor. He also thanked his wife, Tammy, daughter Ashley Abode, and daughter-in-law Brooke Guthrie for their love and support and for attending the award presentation.


About Joey McLaughlin

Robert J. (Joey) McLaughlin received his bachelor of science in pharmacy in 1983 from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Upon graduation, he began his career at an independent pharmacy in Jacksonville, North Carolina. In 1996 he partnered with Rob Bizzell, CEO and president of Realo Discount Drug, and opened Carolina Home Medical, a durable medical equipment company, with the aim of improving overall patient care. He expanded this partnership in 1998 when he opened his first drug store in New Bern, North Carolina. McLaughlin currently owns eighteen Realo Discount Drugs locations: sixteen retail locations, one long-term care pharmacy, and one specialty pharmacy, in addition to seven Carolina Home Medical stores.


McLaughlin has built his pharmacies with a foundation in patient care. Ensuring patients have access to their medications, understand their regimen and feel confident they can reach their pharmacist at any time for their medication needs are among his top priorities. McLaughlin created the slogan “Let our family take care of your family” to symbolize the relationship he tries to bring between Realo staff and their patients.


 McLaughlin is also dedicated to pharmacy as a profession. McLaughlin was elected in 2006 to the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy. He has served two five-year terms and presided as president in 2010 and 2014. In addition to the NC Board of Pharmacy, McLaughlin sits on the Craven County Home Health and Hospice Board of Directors, the Cape Fear Community College Pharmacy Technician Advisory Board, and Board of Directors for NCPHP (formerly NC PRN). He is also active locally, volunteering monthly at the Merci Clinic, a nonprofit community clinic that provides health-care services for adults in Craven, Pamlico, and Jones counties. Through his relationships in the pharmacy community, he has been able to show the active role a pharmacist can play on the healthcare team, advocate for the profession, and provide patient care services that extend far beyond the pharmacy counter.



McLaughlin hugs Fearing after being presented the award.                      













Dr. Adams, McLaughlin, Fearing and Dr. Creed












McLaughlin Family                                                                              















McLaughling accepts the award.













Photos taken by Kayla Clark, program coordinator for Clinical Research.