BMA tells England government to 'listen to the evidence' over alcohol pricing

A coalition of medical organisations has backed plans for a minimum price for alcohol in England but said the government's proposed value of 45p per unit does not go far enough.

Health organisations say a 50p minimum alcohol price per unit would avoid 20,000 hospital admissions per year
Health organisations say a 50p minimum alcohol price per unit would avoid 20,000 hospital admissions per year

The Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), representing 32 medical bodies including the BMA, said the government must raise the price to 50p to save more lives and prevent crime.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the AHA, said: 'I welcome the government’s intention to introduce a minimum unit price on alcohol, which is the fairest and most targeted way of helping those most at risk of damage to their health – young people and the heaviest drinkers.

'We will continue to seek a minimum unit price of at least 50p, which research shows would reduce total alcohol consumption by 6.7%, saving around 20,000 hospital admissions in the first year.'

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, director of professional activities at the BMA, said: 'Doctors witness the human cost of alcohol misuse every day, from emergency admissions to hospital to witnessing the damage to health caused by alcohol misuse on patients and their families.

'The evidence shows that more lives will be saved if the minimum price is set at 50p therefore the BMA is calling on the government to listen to the evidence and set it at this level.'

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