Minimum Unit Pricing has ‘positive impact’ on health

Report concludes policy has saved lives and cut hospital admissions.

Drugs and Alcohol Policy Minister Elena Whitham has welcomed research from Public Health Scotland which concludes that Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) has saved lives, reduced hospital admissions and had a ‘positive impact’ on health outcomes.

In their final report, researchers said that after a robust and independent evaluation, their overall conclusion is that MUP has been effective in its main goal of reducing alcohol harm with an estimated reduction in deaths and hospital admissions specific to the timing of MUP implementation.

This follows previous research by PHS and University of Glasgow showing MUP was estimated to have reduced alcohol sales by 3%, deaths directly caused by alcohol consumption by 13.4% and likely to have reduced hospital admissions by 4.1% compared to what would have happened if MUP had not been in place.

Ms Whitham said:

“We’re determined to do all we can to reduce alcohol-related harm and, as this research demonstrates, our world-leading policy is estimated to have saved lives and reduced alcohol harms and hospital admissions. Just one life lost to alcohol-related harm is one too many and my sympathy goes to all those who have lost a loved one.

“MUP has also contributed to reducing health inequalities. The study found the largest reductions in deaths and hospital admissions wholly attributable to alcohol consumption were seen in men and those living in the 40% most deprived areas.

“We know that additional support is needed for some groups, including those dealing with alcohol dependence and issues such as homelessness. That’s why, alongside MUP, last year £106.8 million was made available to Alcohol and Drugs Partnerships to support local and national initiatives. We will now carefully consider this research as part of ongoing work on reviewing MUP.”


* This news release was updated on 21 August 2023 to make it clear that the reductions in alcohol sales, deaths and hospital admissions are estimates.


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