"Happiness just doesn't happen. You have to force yourself."
Stewart Rahr was raised in a Jewish family in Far Rockaway section of Queens, New York. He has an older brother, Elliot. As a youth, he worked at his father's Retail pharmacy store in Brooklyn and in 1963, he graduated from Poly Prep Country Day School also in Brooklyn. He graduated with a B.A. from New York University and attended New York University Law School before dropping out to take over his family's pharmacy Business which then had $50,000 in sales.
In 1969, he married Carol K. Rahr. They had two children, Robert and Felicia. In 2012, they announced that they were divorcing. In 2013, Rahr agreed to pay Carol $250 million as a settlement.
As the family Business also served as a wholesaler for several other pharmacies, Rahr focused on the wholesaling side of the Business. He expanded it into a large operation named Kinray Inc that served over 4,000 pharmacies in the Northeastern United States with revenues of over $5 billion. Rahr was able to grow the Business rapidly through the stockpiling of pharmaceuticals, relying on drug price inflation to maximize his profit margin when he sold the extra inventory to Retail pharmacies at a later date. This practice later became controversial due to consumer ethics issues, and pharmaceutical manufacturers now monitor their distributors to ensure that they do not hold more than one month's supply of any given drug. In 2010, Rahr sold Kinray to Cardinal Health for $1.3 billion. He became a "self-made billionaire" in this way.
In November 2012, Rahr was banned from the restaurant Nobu in New York. Rahr has an apartment in the Trump Park Avenue building. In 2005, Rahr purchased a house in The Hamptons for $45 million, reportedly the highest price ever paid in the state of New York for a single-family home. He sold a 32nd-floor apartment at 422 East 72nd Street in 2013.
In November 2013, Rahr donated $15 million to the Prostate Cancer Foundation bringing his total contributions to PCF to over $25 million to help find a cure for the disease.
Rahr made a $500,000 donation to the North Shore Animal League America in 2014.