Brexit news – live: Medicine charter flights and drug rationing could be enforced if UK leaves EU with no deal, government admits

Health secretary Matt Hancock leads the news this morning by admitting that drug rationing and the possibility of medicines being flown in to the UK by charter flight to bolster the NHS could happen in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

He defended the government’s preparations for a no-deal outcome but stressed that the potential problems were a reason to back Theresa May’s plan in the crunch December 11 vote.

The Times reported that a consultation launched by the Department for Health and Social Care called for rapid changes to medicine rules to “support the continuity of supply of medicines in a ‘no-deal’ scenario”.

The government wants to enable ministers to issue a “serious shortage protocol” for pharmacies to follow, the newspaper said.


It “could be issued in case of a serious national shortage and would enable community pharmacists and other dispensers to dispense in accordance with the protocol rather than the prescription without contacting the GP”.

Ministers would order pharmacists to dispense a “reduced quantity” of the medicine, an “alternative dosage form”, a “therapeutic equivalent” or a “generic equivalent”.

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