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NICE to recommend minimum price alcohol

1st June 2010

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is to advise the government that putting a minimum price on alcohol could tackle problematic drinking in Britain.

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Over the last two years NICE has examined ways in which the government could help to curb problems caused by alcohol.

Data has shown that a quarter of the population drinks alcohol to a degree that it could put their physical and mental health in danger.

Around 9,000 people die every year because of alcohol poisoning and liver cirrhosis and there are now more than double the amount of deaths than 16 years earlier.

Over 860,000 hospital admissions annually are due to alcohol and an estimated £27 billion is spent every year on dealing with the problem.

Research carried out by Sheffield University found that a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol could prevent up to 3,400 deaths annually.

NICE's draft guidance, published in October 2009, said there was "sufficient evidence … to justify the introduction of a minimum price per unit."

Charities and health workers have given their support to the idea of minimum pricing, but drinks manufacturers are against the proposal.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association said minimum pricing "is probably illegal, would punish millions of innocent consumers and will not address the root causes of alcohol misuse".

 

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