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Minimum unit alcohol pricing works, MPs told

Making cheap, strong alcohol less affordable could benefit the health of the two million people who drink at harmful levels in England, doctors have told MPs.

Addressing the House of Commons health select committee’s investigation into minimum unit alcohol pricing (MUP) on 22 January 2018, Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said there was “a myth that heavy drinkers are immune to MUP, and would continue drinking if the price went up, and turn to crime”.

“Actually heavy drinkers are more price sensitive than moderate drinkers and gravitate to the cheapest alcohol,” he said.

During the hearing, public health figures told MPs that around 4% of heavy drinkers were responsible for roughly one-third of alcohol consumption in England.

Rosanna O’Connor, director of alcohol, drugs and tobacco at Public Health England, described the figure as “staggering”.

She told the committee that MUP would “exquisitely target” the strongest, cheapest alcohol available, which is typically high-strength ciders.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204305

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