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Tue, 30th Sep 2014

The price of alcohol

Beer (c) Robert Wielgórski

Over 600 lives could have been saved from drink-related incidents through a minimum cost policy, according to a study this week. This minimum-per-unit price policy has previously been suggested by the government , but was sidelined in favour of charging a minimum price based on production costs and tax.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield ran a market analysis on both policies, to find out which would reduce most deaths and hospitalisations, and found that one policy consistantly came out on top.

Georgia Mills spoke to Alan Brennan to find out more...

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Seems unlikely. The price of illegal drugs has very little effect on addicts' consumption: they just steal more or spend less on food. If anything, then, increasing the cost of alcohol will kill more addicts and annoy more victims. At the other end of the scale, the occasional drinker who gets pissed at a wedding and kills someone by bad driving, isn't going to be prevented from doing so if the cost of champagne is increased - it just  encourages people to serve cheaper booze at social functions. Or, nowadays, makes overseas weddings even better value.

Unit minimum pricing disproportionately affects the bottom end of the market, so is in line with general government policy to tax the poor (there are more of them, and they aren't as good at avoiding tax as the rich). 

I enjoy home brew: the enthusiast's answer to all policies.    alancalverd, Mon, 6th Oct 2014

Last week I spoke to the nursing manager at an inner-Sydney hospital. She said that implementing late-night shut-out of pubs and clubs had significantly reduced violent incidents that were a regular event on Saturday night/Sunday morning.

For example, she said that they used to need about 4 plastic surgeries on a typical Sunday, and a neurological surgery about every 2nd week.
She said these are now much rarer - perhaps 1 plastic surgery per week.
The irony is that some surgeons are now annoyed because they aren't getting quite so much work.
evan_au, Mon, 6th Oct 2014

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