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Butler Co. nonprofit pharmacy one of only three in the nation

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BUTLER COUNTY, OH (FOX19) -

There are only three pharmacies like it in the entire nation.

The Community First Pharmacy in Butler County is a non for profit business that sells medications at a discounted price.

Theresa Cipollina has suffered from four head traumas and now has posttraumatic stress syndrome. She says the cost her medications can add up.

"When you're on Medicare you have to choose do you want to eat or do you want to buy your medications," said Cipollina.

But now she visits Community First Pharmacy and she says they've been a life saver.

"They go out of their way to accommodate people," said Cipollina.

The setup you see today isn't nearly the same as when they opened up shop in 2008.

"We had just a six foot dispensing counter," said Craig Stiens of The Community First Pharmacy.

But now they're the same corner drug store, without the high cost of normal prescriptions.

"Sometimes my prescription is $5 sometimes it's $1.20," said Cipollina.

Stiens says what makes them different is they help people find alternatives for their medications if they're too expensive. For instance, on Wednesday he helped a customer find a different pain medication that would have cost more than $200. 

"I had talked with them and asked them if they'd tried other products and recommended another medication that's a one a day medication and it costs them $13.00 a month," said Stiens.

And they're open for everyone.

"Whether you have private insurance, you're on public assistance, whether you have no insurance at all, we can serve you," said Stiens.

Their retail inventory is purchased from independent pharmacies. All their profits go right back into the community. Stiens says that could go towards education or even further assisting clients.

"We really try to help people and just navigate them through the healthcare system to help them to get them medications they need. And it may not be the one the doctor originally prescribed but it may be something that's therapeutically equivalent and it's going to help them," said Stiens.

Stiens says they also service assisted living centers in the area and they'd eventually like to expand, but right now they're just interested in serving the people of Butler County.

One of the other non for profit pharmacies is located in Louisville, and the other is right downtown Cincinnati called Pharmacy Over-the-Rhine which opened up in 2005.

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