The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh ("the College") is welcoming a major new report from Public Health Scotland, published in The Lancet, which looks at the impact of alcohol minimum unit pricing (MUP) on deaths and hospital admissions attributable to alcohol consumption.

The report estimates a 13.4% reduction in deaths, and a 4.1% reduction in hospital admissions, wholly attributable to alcohol consumption following the implementation of MUP.

In addition, significant reductions in deaths wholly attributable to alcohol consumption were greatest among the four most socio-economically deprived area-based deciles.

Professor Andrew Elder, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

The College welcomes this highly positive report which demonstrates the beneficial impact that MUP is having on communities in Scotland.

It is extremely encouraging that we are now seeing good quality evidence that MUP is helping to save lives and reduce hospital admissions and the College is pleased to have been an early and consistent supporter of the MUP policy.

Health inequalities are a major concern for the College and the report indicates the real potential that MUP offers in terms of addressing some of the health inequalities around alcohol harm.

With almost 100 people in Scotland being hospitalised and 3 dying each day because of alcohol, it is vital that the new First Minister and their government build on the success of MUP and support additional measures to tackle alcohol harm.

Dr Alastair MacGilchrist, chair of expert clinician partnership, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), said:

Alcohol causes immense problems for many people, families and communities in Scotland so bold measures such as minimum unit pricing of alcohol – recommended by the World Health Organization – are vital in reducing the burden of alcohol harms.

This report shows that MUP is saving lives, so the next step must be to increase it to a level where it becomes even more effective. And pricing alone isn’t enough, we also need to see action to restrict alcohol marketing and investment in services to support people who are suffering from alcohol problems.


The PHS report is available here