Student Pharmacist Pitches Pharmapreneurial Mobile App at National “Shark Tank” Style Event

Written by: Sean Kim, third-year student pharmacist

Featured image caption: Sean Kim (right) stands with the two other finalists of PharmTANK.

At the recent American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, I had the privilege of participating in the PharmTANK competition, which was modeled after the TV show “Shark Tank.” Two other finalists and I presented our innovative and entrepreneurial strategies for pharmacy practice.

I came to PharmTANK to showcase the “TravelRx” app, a concept I developed with two classmates in the School of Pharmacy’s Pharmapreneurship pathway.

What is TravelRx?

Imagine you are traveling in South Korea for the first time. One night, you develop a headache but didn’t bring any medicine from home. And you don’t speak Korean. The medications have different names, you can’t read the labels, and you might not be able to communicate with anyone at the pharmacy.

TravelRx will help an individual identify and locate the correct over-the-counter products when traveling in foreign countries. Based on a user’s self-identified symptoms, the app shows a list of suggested medication names in the country’s primary language. Individuals can compare medicines to those they’re more familiar with, all without a language barrier. TravelRx also includes a geolocation feature, which allows the user to locate trustworthy pharmacies in unfamiliar places.

Giving a presentation in front of a conference room

Presenting at PharmTANK

APhA in March was my first in-person conference since the COVID-19 pandemic, so I was extra nervous about presenting in front of an audience. But after I began my presentation, my nerves dissipated.

After my 10-minute presentation, I fielded numerous questions from the judges and audience members. These questions were extremely valuable in helping me plan the further development of TravelRx.

Listening to the other two participants, I was amazed by their innovative ideas. As the only student pharmacist presenting, my top objective at PharmTANK was simply gaining experience with pitching the idea and growing my professional network.

My goal now is to continue developing TravelRx and pilot the project in Seoul, South Korea. After the rollout of the app, we hope to make the application a standard to connect patients with pharmacists across the globe from their cell phones.

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