To get prescription medications, you must have permission from a doctor or nurse practitioner, and you must go to a pharmacy. For example, you will need a prescription to get antibiotics, birth control pills, antidepressants, asthma inhalers, certain pain medications, and cough syrup with codeine. When you need one of these medications, the doctor or nurse practitioner might give you a written prescription, or he or she might send the order to the pharmacy electronically.
If you have a prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner at MIT Medical, you can get the medication from the MIT Pharmacy. If you have the MIT Affiliate Extended Insurance Plan, the MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan, or one of the MIT employee health plans, this will be the best place for you to get your prescription medication. Read more.
If you don’t have an MIT health plan, you may still use the MIT Medical Pharmacy to fill prescriptions from doctors or nurse practitioners at MIT Medical, but you will probably have to pay full price. Afterwards, you can get a form from your insurance company and fill it out to ask them to pay part of the cost. It might be easier and less expensive to use another local pharmacy that accepts your insurance plan. See “Getting care if you don’t have MIT insurance” for a list of local pharmacies.
You can buy over-the-counter (OTC) medications without a prescription. Some of the most common OTC medications are aspirin, Tylenol (acetaminophen or paracetamol) and Motrin (ibuprofen) for pain and fever, nasal decongestants, allergy pills, and most kinds of cough syrup. You can buy OTC medications at pharmacies, but you can also find them at grocery stores and convenience stores. The MIT Pharmacy, on the first floor of MIT Medical, has OTC medications at discounted prices. You may buy OTC items at the MIT Pharmacy, even if you don’t have an MIT health insurance plan.
What’s different in the U.S.?
When you arrive in the U.S., you may be surprised to find that some OTC medications in your country require a prescription in this country. And some medications that require a prescription in your country may be OTC medications here.
Before you leave home...
If your home doctor has prescribed medication for you, try to bring at least a one- or two-month supply of that medication with you when you come to the U.S. If you need to get prescription medication in the U.S., you will have to see a doctor or nurse practitioner here to get a prescription—even if you already have a prescription for that medication from another country.