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Pharmacy student relief service wins annual Pharmasave Business Competition

Friday, November 16, 2018

It’s no secret that government cutbacks in recent years have created stress for community pharmacists. Combine these funding cuts with an expanding scope that adds services like vaccinations and MedsChecks, and many pharmacists feel that they’re expected to somehow do more with less.

RxRabbit was designed to address this problem. The business was developed by pharmacy students Riley Kim, Sabina Rafikova, Kylie Edwards, Neeraj Gupta, and Roger Ayoub and was the winner of the 2018 Pharmasave Industrial Case Competition.

“Pharmasave is delighted to support this competition yearly,” says Jaspreet Dhaliwall of Pharmasave. “Students have always risen to the occasion and far exceeded any expectations we had when this competition started. The pitches get better every year.”

“RxRabbit will help pharmacies maximize workflow and profit, while also providing a convenient way for pharmacy students to hone skills and build their careers,” explains Roger Ayoub, the team’s sales and marketing director.

The service connects pharmacies with pharmacy students via an online platform that can be accessed on desktop and mobile. Employers sign up and post short-term job availabilities.

“Maybe they want to run a flu clinic for a few days, or offer a dedicated time when patients can complete MedsChecks,” says Roger. “Or perhaps they have a backlog of work they want to get to and need someone who can handle simple patient inquiries.”

RxRabbit finds students to fill these short-term needs. Students sign up for the platform and get matched with job opportunities that meet their search criteria. After a shift is completed, both student and employer have the opportunity to rate each other.

Winners of the Pharmasave Industrial Case Comeptition smiling with trophy, Dave Edwards and Jaspreet Dhaliwall.

Dave Edwards, Roger Ayoub, Kylie Edwards, Sabina Rafikova, Riley Kim, Neeraj Gupta, and Jaspreet Dhaliwall of Pharmasave.

Relief work – finding temporary labour to respond to gaps in pharmacy staffing - is a staple of the community pharmacy environment. Pharmacists register with relief services like RxRabbit and are matched to posted jobs at pharmacies. However, there is no relief service that targets pharmacy students: existing platforms cater to licensed pharmacists.

“RxRabbit is the first relief service to focus on an untapped demographic of potential workers – pharmacy students,” explains Ayoub. “Students receiving training like injections certification and have experience in pharmacy environments. Due to the rigours of pharmacy school, they often can’t commit to a consistent part-time job at a pharmacy. Short-term relief work is ideal for this audience.”

“With about 2,000 pharmacy students in Ontario at any given time, and 4,000 pharmacies across the province, we see lots of potential for growing our business,” says Ayoub. Dhaliwall also commented on the utility of the student’s proposed business:

“This year’s group, RxRabbit, presented a novel idea to not only support community pharmacists, but also provide pharmacy students with essential work experience,” she says.  “We are hopeful to see RxRabbit serving the needs of pharmacists soon.”

The Pharmsave competition is tied to a business course in the Waterloo Pharmacy program and pits third-year pharmacy student teams against their classmates in a contest for a $5,000 prize. The competition has been held for seven years and has led to three real-world businesses.

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