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KALISPELL - The parent company of Kalispell Regional Medical Center has opened a pharmacy in Kalispell, and independent drug stores are fuming about competition from a non-profit corporation.

Northwest Healthcare, which owns the regional hospital, opened The Clinical Pharmacy this month.

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The owners of Kalispell's independent pharmacies say they appreciate Northwest Healthcare's right to seek new streams of revenue. But they argue that opening a retail pharmacy infringes on an area where the community's health care needs are already being met by existing pharmacies.

Jim Oliverson, a vice president at Kalispell Regional, says a primary motive for opening the pharmacy is the prescription drug cost savings it'll provide - roughly $250,000 annually - for the hospital and its more than 2,000 employees.

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