Major ports could suffer disruption for up to six months under a no-deal scenario, the Government has told industry leaders.
Revised Brexit assessments published on Friday warned that access through Dover and Folkestone could be reduced for significantly longer than first feared.
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has written to health and care providers setting out contingency plans for medicine plans, in which he warns that there would be “significantly reduced access across the short straits, for up to six months.”
Separately, he also confirmed that his department was exploring plans to give pharmacists the authority to overrule GPs and ration drugs to mitigate shortages.
Under an urgent consultation initiated this week, ministers are seeking to introduce a “serious shortage protocol” for pharmacies, allowing them to dispense a “reduced quantity” of the medicine, an “alternative dosage form” or a “therapeutic equivalent”.
Mr Hancock told the BBC he wanted to “make sure [that] if there’s a shortage of individual drugs pharmacists can make clinical and professional judgements”, adding “it’s about having the appropriate clinical flexibility”.