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FAQ: Pharmacy

Why has the MIT Pharmacy closed?

During the pandemic, the number of community members using the pharmacy dropped substantially. This lower rate of usage is expected to be permanent for multiple reasons, including:

  • MIT’s transition to hybrid work.
  • Patients choosing other ways to fill their prescriptions — such as mail order delivery for maintenance medications and same-day delivery services.

Will MIT Medical still handle vaccinations and medication consultations?

Yes. Ambulatory Care Pharmacists will be available to help with medication consultations, particularly for cases where patients are taking multiple medicines concurrently.

Which local pharmacies are in the Express Scripts network?

The following local pharmacies are in the Express Scripts network:

What if I have additional questions about the MIT Pharmacy closure?

MIT Medical can answer general questions at pharmacy@med.mit.edu.

If you have specific questions about your individual healthcare situation, contact your personal care provider. You can discuss your concerns at your next visit, or send them a message via our patient portal, HealthELife.

How much will I pay for prescriptions now that the MIT Pharmacy has closed?

Your copay will depend on your individual insurance plan. Employees should visit the MIT Benefits website for more information. Students should refer to the health plan documents section of the MIT Medical website.

For MIT Traditional, Choice, and High Deductible Health Plan members:

If you have filled a prescription at the MIT Pharmacy after March 1, 2021, and you have an existing prescription that is currently eligible for lower copayment rates at the MIT Pharmacy, you will automatically be charged the lower copay when you fill your prescription at an in-network pharmacy. These rates will continue through the end of the insurance plan year, December 31, 2022.

If you have filled a prescription at the MIT Pharmacy after March 1, 2021, and you fill a new prescription at an in-network pharmacy after March 25, 2022, you will be refunded any difference in price through the end of the insurance plan year, December 31, 2022.

For MIT Student and Affiliate Extended Insurance Plan members:

If you have filled a prescription at the MIT Pharmacy after March 1, 2021, and you fill a new prescription at an in-network pharmacy after March 25, 2022, you will be refunded any difference in price through the end of the insurance plan year, August 31, 2022.

For the most accurate information, always refer to your plan’s benefit description document.

What about the MIT Pharmacy’s discounted over-the-counter products?

Our over-the-counter medication sales will continue. We are building a new kiosk located on the first floor near Urgent Care. This kiosk will continue to provide over-the-counter medications and supplies at deeply discounted prices.

Can I get more than a 30-day supply of my prescription medication?

Possibly. Depending on your individual insurance plan and the specific medication, you may be able to purchase up to a 90-day supply at one time via mail order. Check your plan’s benefit description document for details.

Can I be reimbursed if I fill a prescription at a pharmacy that does not participate in Express Scripts?

No. For your prescriptions to be covered, you must use an Express Scripts pharmacy. The only exception is for prescriptions purchased at outside pharmacies after your prescription insurance is active but before receiving your Blue Cross Blue Shield ID card. To be reimbursed for those purchases, you will need to submit a claim form directly to Express Scripts.

Do I have an annual benefit limit for prescriptions?

It depends on your insurance plan. Check your plan’s benefit description document for details.

How does the “out-of-pocket maximum” apply to my prescription benefit?

An out-of-pocket maximum” is the annual limit on the amount of your own money that you are required to spend for healthcare costs that are covered by your insurance (not including premiums or balance-billed charges from out-of-network medical providers). Once you have spent that amount during a calendar year (January 1–December 31), your health insurance will cover additional costs in full for the rest of the year.

Different plans have different out-of-pocket maximums. Check your plan’s benefit description document for details.

Can I return an over-the-counter product that I purchased at MIT Medical?

Yes. You can return an unopened over-the-counter product as long as you purchased it within the last 30 days, and have the original sales receipt. The product must be sealed and in its original packaging. Email pharmacy@med.mit.edu if you have an item to return.

Are generic-equivalent drugs as good as the brand-name versions?

Yes, in most cases, generic and brand-name medications are interchangeable. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires generic medications to have the same effectiveness, active ingredients, strength, and form (e.g., pill, liquid, injection) as their brand-name counterparts. Inactive ingredients such as colorings and fillers may differ between brand-name and generic medications, but these ingredients must also meet strict FDA standards.

When it comes to prescriptions, brand-name medications are available only when the prescribing provider provides clinical documentation of medical necessity in the patient’s electronic medical record — for example, in the rare case that a patient has an adverse reaction to one of the inactive ingredients in the generic version. In that case, a patient would have a medical need for the brand-name version of the medication, and their provider would include the “medical justification” in the patient’s medical record.

What should I do with unused prescription products? Will MIT Medical take them back for recycling or disposal?

Due to issues involving licensing and security, we cannot install a drop-off kiosk for unwanted medications. However, we offer our patients two options for responsible medication disposal: postage-paid mailing envelopes and a drug-deactivation system that renders pharmaceutical compounds inert and safe for disposal with ordinary household waste. Both are available at no charge.

The postage-paid envelopes are a good solution for people who have many unwanted medications or who have liquid medications to dispose of because each envelope can hold many medications in their original containers to be sent off for safe disposal. The drug-deactivation system, on the other hand, consists of a small pouch with an inner packet of activated carbon, a drug-deactivating agent. By mixing the activated carbon with water, you can safely deactivate up to 15 tablets of medication in each pouch.

You can stop by the MIT over-the-counter kiosk and ask for the drug-disposal option that best suits your needs. Undergraduates may also pick up drug-deactivation pouches from the MedLinks in their residences and living groups.

What should I do if I run into a problem filling a prescription at a retail pharmacy or need information about what my insurance will cover?

Contact your insurance company by using the customer service phone number on the back of your insurance ID card.