Thanks to Obama Bill, Birth Control Pill May Get Cheaper at MIT Medical

1984 contraceptives
The Center for Health Promotion and Wellness at MIT provides condoms (seen above) to students for free. Not all types of contraceptives are free to students; certain drugs have become prohibitively expensive.
Michael Y. McCanna—The Tech

President Obama signed a bill last week that will likely reduce the price of contraceptives for college pharmacies.

Up until two years ago, pharmaceutical companies gave discounts to clinics and pharmacies at colleges. But in 2007, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 came into effect, making it expensive for drug companies to continue offering those discounts.

The new law reverses the events of the past two years, allowing pharmaceutical companies to once again sell contraceptives to universities at lower prices — though it is up to them to follow through.

MIT will have to renegotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies to provide students with the lowest rates possible. “We will certainly position ourselves to purchase in a way that is advantageous to the community,” said Dr. William M. Kettyle, director of MIT Medical.

Ratna Bhojani, Chief Pharmacist at MIT Medical, said it remains to be seen how prices at MIT will change.

For students at MIT covered by the Student Extended Insurance plan, copayments for contraceptives have not changed in the past two years, even as the price the pharmacy paid for contraceptives increased. All oral contraceptives are available to students on the extended plan for $15 per month.

In the last year a little under 4,000 prescriptions for contraceptives were filled for undergraduate students on the extended insurance plan, which corresponds to a bit more than 300 prescriptions per month.

About half of undergraduate students are covered by the Extended Insurance Plan, said Dr. Kettyle. For students covered by other insurance plans, prices of contraceptives vary greatly. Without insurance, contraceptives cost anywhere from $22 to $60 per month.