Lancet publishes minimum pricing research

24 March, 2010

A 50p-a-unit minimum price on alcohol would result in around 2,900 fewer premature deaths a year in England, according to research by Sheffield University published this week in The Lancet.

The benefits would be felt within 10 years of implementation, researchers claim. They also believe there would be 41,000 fewer cases of chronic illness and 8,000 fewer injuries.

There would be 92,000 fewer hospital admissions, saving the health service £270 million a year.

The researchers believe the 50p minimum price would add an extra £163 a year to the bills of harmful drinkers and only £12 to moderate drinkers.

The authors concluded: "General price increases are effective for reduction of consumption, healthcare costs, and health-related quality of life losses in all population subgroups.

“Minimum pricing policies can maintain this level of effectiveness for harmful drinkers while reducing effects on consumer spending for moderate drinkers.

“Total bans of supermarket and off-licence discounting are effective but banning only large discounts has little effect.”

Trade bodies such as the WSTA remain opposed to plans for minimum pricing in Scotland, arguing the system is unworkable, legally dubious and not the right way to deal with problem drinking.

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