OnePharma Solutions wins 2017 Pharmasave business plan competition

On Friday, November 10, students from the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy participated in the 2017 Pharmasave Business Plan Competition finals. Team OnePharma Solutions came in first place, winning a $5,000 shared prize and a professional development opportunity with Pharmasave.

Teams of up to four students applied theoretical knowledge to current issues in pharmacy practice and developed practical solutions that demonstrated value for money. Shortlisted teams worked with entrepreneurial specialists to develop their business idea and pitch. Finalists presented their business pitch to a panel of healthcare and commercial experts.

“This competition is important on so many levels,” said Heather Boon, Dean of the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. “For many this is a great learning opportunity. For some, an entertaining team building exercise. And for a few of our previous finalists, the competition has acted as a springboard to establishing their own businesses.”  

As the role of pharmacists and other healthcare professionals continues to evolve, there is a drive to leverage new technologies and redesign services to reflect a more patient-centred focus.

Hosted by the Faculty’s Centre for Practice Excellence, the Pharmasave Business Plan Competition is an opportunity for pharmacy students to bring together their clinical and business skills to create solutions to improve patient care along these lines.

Team OnePharma Solutions: (L to R) Steven Guan, Romina Isip, Vincent Nguyen, and Carmen Cheung

In their proposal, the OnePharma Solutions team, which included Carmen Cheung, Steven Guan, Romina Isip, and Vincent Nguyen, tackled the widespread problem of prescription drug shortages. According to Health Canada, a drug shortage is a situation in which a drug company is unable to meet the demand for the drug and can include temporary disruptions or permanent discontinuation in the production and supply of a drug. These shortages negatively affect patients, healthcare professionals, and the broader health system. 

To address this issue, the team pitched the creation of OnePharma Solutions, an online registry subscription network that would give independent, community pharmacies a platform to connect stock levels and access nearby backordered medications.

"It means a lot to us to win this award because it's recognition of all the hard work we did and it promotes awareness that there is a true need for this novel service,” said team member Steven Guan. “This competition encourages students to be creative and innovative outside of courses, using all the information we have learned in school and in our workplaces to design something that truly benefits the patients."  

Other winners:

Second Place, Team Shyft: (L to R) Vargha Eslami Amirabadi, Jon Nhan, David Yoon, Sally Chen

Third Place, VoiceGuide Inhaler: Annie Jalal presents her VoiceGuide Inhaler pitch to the judge’s panel.

The 2017 Pharmasave Business Plan Competition judges’ panel included:

  • Zubin Austin – The Murray B. Koffler Chair in Pharmacy Management, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Jaspreet Dhaliwall – Region Manager, Pharmacy Innovation, Pharmasave Ontario
  • Christine Donaldson – Vice President, Pharmacy Services, HealthPRO Procurement Services Inc.
  • Jovan Matic – Director, Office of the Chief Health Innovation Strategist
  • Peter Van Der Velden – Managing General Partner, Lumira Capital

Thank you Pharmasave for your continued support and congratulations to all students who participated in this year’s competition!

Photos by Kendra Hewlett