Albion, Indiana has been “put on the map” a few times in its history. Many people know the small town for Chain O’ Lakes State Park and Black Pine Animal Sanctuary, local attractions that draw thousands of visitors each year to the county seat in the heart of Noble County in northeast Indiana. A federal building and U.S. Courthouse in Washington D.C. bears the name of E. Ross Adair, a former U.S. Representative who was born in Albion. History buffs know Albion for the antics of noted desperado and Indiana outlaw Marvin Kuhns, a bank robber and horse thief who broke out of Albion’s jail three times before his death at the hands of a posse near Van Wert, Ohio, in 1907.
In 2019, Albion is making history again, this time for welcoming Indiana’s very first telepharmacy to town. Although the road from concept to reality was longer than originally anticipated, Pill Box Pharmacy President Greg Winn turned each “maybe” over the past three years into a “yes” to make the telepharmacy a reality. Albion and county officials are thrilled with the outcome, a solution to what had been cited as a top need by residents who responded to various surveys conducted in recent years by organizations committed to help grow the economy and improve quality of life.
Winn, surrounded by officials from Albion and its town council, redevelopment commission, the county economic development office, local doctors and nurses, citizens, and others who played a part in seeing this project through, were on hand last Friday for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Pill Box Pharmacy at 903 Northridge Road on the town’s north end is now open for business. Winn noted a number of northeast Indiana rural communities that, like Albion, saw their local pharmacies close over the past decade. With new state legislation and regulations now in place for telepharmacy operations, attendees applauded the precedent and what it may mean for more small communities in the coming months and years.
Telepharmacy is defined as the delivery of pharmaceutical care via telecommunications. Prescriptions are filled remotely, in areas where the patient might not have direct contact or access to a pharmacist. The Pill Box in Albion is an extension of the services of The Pill Box in Warsaw, Indiana. The Warsaw location is a long-established, licensed brick and mortar pharmacy staffed by pharmacists. Albion’s Pill Box employs certified pharmacy technicians who dispense under the remote supervision of licensed pharmacists in Warsaw, facilitated by telecommunications. A laptop on the pharmacy counter in Albion enables patients to engage with pharmacists, via video chat, to
Albion lost pharmacy services in 2006 when Fischer Pharmacy closed three area locations that also included operations in Avilla and Garrett. Winn believes there are approximately 78 communities in Indiana at risk of losing their local pharmacies, in addition to many who already have. Albion hopes the successful outcome of this historic project will aid other communities in meeting the needs of Hoosiers everywhere.