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‘We live in a broken system’: Red Bank Pharmacy provides free lifesaving drugs to those in need

RED BANK, NJ — A chartered pharmacy opens in Monmouth County — the first of its kind in New Jersey.

Red Bank Pharmacy is run by Ritesh Shah who also runs several other pharmacies. He saw how the cost of different drugs increased.

“Our model of health care, you know, I’ll say that with respect — we live in a broken system,” Shah told CBS2’s Meg Baker.

He wants to be part of the solution for those struggling to afford the medications they need.

“Or they have to decide if they want to put food on the table or buy the medicine,” he said. “I want to make sure I’m there for them.”

The pharmacy does not have a cash register. All vital medicines are free.

To fund the charity, Shah and his wife, Asha, partnered with pharmaceutical companies and the Dispensary of Hope, a national organization that distributes pharmaceuticals to low-income patients with chronic illnesses.

“Help save lives for our patients with diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, nutrition,” Shah said. “It’s the work of God and they know it.

Others donated money and products, such as Nat-Rul Health vitamins.

“Getting the right nutrition for some people in America is a challenge…so we think this is a great product for people who need to fill those nutritional gaps,” said Neal Vohora, president of the company.

Shah was inspired to open this one-of-a-kind pharmacy in the state after his sister in India, who was diabetic, died after contracting COVID. He says better access to drugs could have made a difference.

“It shook me. God is good to me and I thought, I don’t want this to happen to anyone,” Shah said.

Most patients will come from local clinics, where they are pre-approved to receive the free drugs. Others can apply online or at a pharmacy.

The Ritesh Shah Charity Pharmacy plans to open the second week of April.