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Mount Morris getting telepharmacy

MOUNT MORRIS – This Ogle County village once again will have a pharmacy.

TelePharm plans to open an online pharmacy downtown, in a portion of the building that houses the Main Street Bistro at 12 W. Main St., Economic Development Committee member Rob Urish told the village board Tuesday.

It could take 6 to 9 months to get up and running; the hope is to open this winter, TelePharm officials said.

The company also has been reaching out to various other small towns that may be stranded in a "pharmacy desert." It is in the talking stage with Ashton, in Lee County, and has progressed in Erie in Whiteside County to the point where they are looking for a location, TelePharm's Greg Janes said.

Walnut in Bureau County has declined to get involved, but the company does have commitments from several other communities, including Sheffield, also in Bureau County, Cambridge in Henry County, and Waterman in DeKalb County, Janes said.

A privately owned telepharmacy, which uses TelePharm software, recently opened in Lanark in Carroll County.

The Iowa City, Iowa-based company, which launched in 2012, also planned to open a telepharmacy in Milledgeville, but pulled out of the deal. Neither the company nor village officials have publicly stated why plans fell through.

In a telepharmacy, a pharmacist online and off-site inspects and verifies prescriptions, which are dispensed by on-site technicians, often the same day. Customers can order in person or online, then pick up the prescription. They also have the ability to talk with the off-site pharmacist.

Such pharmacies are designed for small, rural communities, to save patients long drives to get medication, or drives made treacherous by bad weather.

Mount Morris has been without a pharmacy since Felker Pharmacy closed several years ago.

In addition to dispensing medications, the pharmacy plans to add medication therapy management, immunization clinics, and health education sessions, the company said in a news release.

"Mount Morris Pharmacy will focus on community health and hold monthly events to educate residents on preventative health practices," the release read.

According to its website, TelePharm's business model is to ask for a commitment from the communities in which they locate. Mount Morris investors are putting up $50,000, and TelePharm has committed $200,000 to $250,000 to remodel the site, which it will rent from Dave and Maggie Johnson, and set up the business, Urish said Wednesday.

That's the same agreement the company had with Milledgeville, where about a half-dozen private investors raised the needed $50,000. Officials there said the deal was finalized Aug. 14, but confirmed the agreement's demise Sept. 14.

Urish is confident the Mount Morris deal will stand. The paperwork has been signed, the i's dotted, he said.

The Lanark Pharmacy opened July 31 downtown. Kip and Karrie Sabinson, of Warren, own that site and Warren Pharmacy. Karrie is a registered pharmacist, and she approves the prescriptions. That pharmacy also sells a full line of over-the-counter products, vitamins, and, soon, Hallmark greeting cards.

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