Our History

The Abraham family's drug industry roots go back to the early 1920s, when a talented young New York pharmacist, Samuel Abraham and his brother, Isadore, decided to expand their professional training. They each took turns working shifts in their pharmacy while Samuel studied dentistry and Isadore, medicine.

Following graduation, Samuel pursued his research into orthodontics and endodontics. From 1928 to 1930, he was President of the Columbia University Club of Advanced Dental Study.

In his early work with root canal therapy, Samuel realized that there was no commercially available material to ensure sterility of the root canal and maintain the integrity of the tooth after the nerve was removed. Drawing on his pharmaceutical training, he formulated a phenol-based product that would satisfy demanding endodontic criteria…and simultaneously jettisoned the Abraham family into the pharmaceutical industry.

The two Abraham brothers, David and Max, traveled with Samuel to cities on the eastern seaboard, where he delivered professional lectures to the local dentists. After his talks, the brothers would sell the kits necessary for successful implementation of endodontic procedures.

Adding to his early success, Samuel then formulated Stomaseptine, an oral hygiene product which was subsequently sold to a division of Schering Inc.

In 1945, Samuel bought the Thompson Medical Company from Mr. Thompson of Titusville, Pennsylvania. This company, with one product, antiseptic San Cura ointment, would keep Samuel's children and grandchildren in the drug business. In 1948, when Samuel passed away, his oldest son, Dan, assumed responsibility for the U.S. business. In 1961, after graduating from pharmacy school and training at Thompson Medical in New York, his youngest son, Jerry, came to Canada.

In 1978, the family suffered the loss of Roy Abraham, a noted lawyer who was editor of the Columbia Law Review and served as vice-president of Bristol-Myers, Squibb before joining Thompson Medical.

In 1961, when Dan and Jerry discussed establishing a Canadian business, the question of naming the company came up. They agreed to name the company in honour of their mother, Stella K. Abraham.

From June 22, 1961, until November 30, 1994, Stella Pharmaceutical Company operated as a subsidiary of Thompson Medical Company. On December 1, 1994, ownership of Stella transferred to Jerry Abraham and his children. Jerry's sons prepared themselves for business careers. Josh studied pharmacy in New York like his grandfather and father. Sam was employed as a financial analyst with the New York law firm, Skadden Arps, and worked at Thompson Medical Company before earning his MBA from the Harvard Business School.

In 1995, Stella acquired the Dr. A. W. Chase Medicine Company, whose line of herbal remedies were popular since the early 1900s both in Canada and throughout the Caribbean. In 1996, Nutribar was acquired from Searle and in 1997, Tisane de Durbon, a well-known Caribbean brand, was acquired from Sanofi.

Inspired by a noble beginning and proud history, the company looks forward to continued participation in the dynamic evolution of pharmacy in Canada. Stella is fortunate to have a remarkably dedicated organization of individuals, committed to building the business through internal growth and strategic acquisitions.

Today, still family-owned and operated, Sam is now a member of the Board of Directors of the company. In 2007, Josh was appointed the President of Stella Pharmaceutical, managing its daily operations, following the illustrious careers of his father, Jerry, and grandfather, Samuel.