The epidemiological evidence related to Alcohol pricing

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Alcohol is regarded as an of import merchandise for any state lending to its economic system, functioning as a agency of leisure and socialization to the population and holding some good effects on health.1 But at the same clip intoxicant is besides regarded as the root cause of multiple wellness and safety issues and offenses, increasing the load on the society. The figure of intoxicant related deceases in the UK has increased from 6.7/100,000 in 1992 to 12.8/100,000 in 2009.2 The rate of alcohol-related admittances ( NI39 ) for England in 2009/10 was 1,743/100,000, which showed a 10 % addition from 2008/09 statistics. 3 Further, it is estimated that this rate in the first two quarters of 2010/11 will be approximately 942/100,000, foretelling a 9 % farther increase.4 In add-on, there was an norm of 271 prescription points prescribed for intoxicant dependence in England per 100,000 in 2009 bing the National Health Service about & A ; lb ; 2.38 million.5 Hence, we can see that the load of intoxicant abuse in England is immense, doing it a precedence job in public wellness.

Harmonizing to the jurisprudence of demand, the demand of a merchandise is reciprocally relative to its monetary value, which means that addition in the monetary value would diminish the demand and vice-versa. Alcohol now is 70 % more low-cost than it was in 19805, which may be related to increasing intoxicant abuse. Therefore, pricing has been regarded as one of the cardinal tools in intoxicant policy.6 On 18th January 2011, the authorities set a minimal monetary value of intoxicant for England and Wales7 following which there has been a batch of treatment on the effects of intoxicant monetary value, ingestion and related injury. Hence this paper aims to reexamine the current literature to look into the association between intoxicant monetary value, ingestion and intoxicant related injury.

Designation of epidemiological grounds -Literature Search

Literature hunt was done utilizing the database of MEDLINE ( 1954-present ) and the Google Scholar hunt engine. In add-on, the relevant studies published in the UK were besides identified and included in the reappraisal.


Four chief footings searched for included ‘Alcohol pricing ‘ , ‘Alcohol ‘ , ‘Consumption ‘ and ‘Pric* ‘ where ‘* ‘ indicates truncation to include all signifiers of the root word. All the footings were searched for in the rubric of the articles and non as keywords to obtain really specific consequences. 20 articles were obtained that were relevant to the subject after excepting articles in linguistic communications other than English and articles older than 2000 i.e. more than 11 old ages old. Figure 1 gives the consequences retrieved for each term and sequence of combinations to obtain the concluding 20 articles.

Google Scholar

Literature was searched on the Google Scholar hunt engine utilizing the phrase ‘Alcohol revenue enhancement and pricing ‘ . About 15 articles were found with relevant rubrics to the subject. After excepting the articles older than 2000, a sum of 13 articles were included.

Relevant published Reports

The commissioner of intoxicant services at the Derby Alcohol Action squad discussed the University of Sheffield Report on intoxicant pricing. In add-on, a latest study by the Home Office on likely impacts of increasing intoxicant monetary value was besides discussed by a co-worker working for the Department of Health. Hence, these studies were besides included in the reappraisal. Another reappraisal by Centre for Economic and Business Research was besides found. However, it was included from the analysis as it was commissioned by SABMiller plc. Therefore, it was capable to bias and taken intoxicant pricing as a bootless intercession.

Therefore, a sum of 21 articles were included in this reappraisal. Fig. 2 describes the overall hunt scheme adopted.

Review of grounds

Effectss of intoxicant pricing and revenue enhancement on ingestion

It has been highlighted in the literature that alcohol pricing related closely to alcohol ingestion and with increasing intoxicant monetary values the demand for intoxicant lessenings. 38 of 72 surveies in a systematic reappraisal highlighted that intoxicant ingestion is reciprocally relative to the price.8 The snap ( step of alteration in demand with the alteration in monetary value ) for beer in the survey was -0.5, which means that with a 1 % addition in monetary value beer ingestion with lessening by 0.5 % . The snap of vino was -0.79.8 Another reappraisal found similar consequences with snap of -0.46 for beer, -0.69 for vino and -0.80 for liquors. Furthermore, it found a important relationship ( P & A ; lt ; 0.001 ) between intoxicant monetary value steps and indices of intoxicant gross revenues or ingestion ( r = -0.44 ) .9

Individual epidemiological surveies in different states have besides demonstrated this reverse tendency. A survey in Finland evaluated this relationship by analyzing the intoxicant ingestion from 1982-2008. In 2004 intoxicant monetary values in Finland decreased by 1/3rd. This resulted in an addition of alcohol ingestion particularly in the 45-64 old ages age group and people with low degrees of education.10 Similar consequences were found in a longitudinal survey in Switzerland pre-post intoxicant revenue enhancement reforms. They concluded that spirit ingestion significantly increased by 28.6 % in the survey sample with the lessening in monetary values, even after seting for important correlatives of spirit ingestion. 11 12 However, ingestion of vino, beer or overall intoxicant did non alter significantly. 12 This determination is consistent with findings of a survey done in Denmark, Finland and Southern Sweden after intoxicant revenue enhancement alterations. Alcohol ingestion in Denmark and Sweden decreased with a lessening in intoxicant revenue enhancement. In contrast, there was no alteration in ingestion of intoxicant in Southern Sweden following revenue enhancement alterations. 13 This survey was a big survey based on the information from 3 states and it found contradictory consequences. However, it is of import to observe that it was a cross-sectional survey, which could be capable to describing prejudice. Further, there might be a high-rate of ingestion in homeless or unemployed people who may non be included in the sample. One more factor could be the addition in imports during the survey period, which may take down the gross revenues of intoxicant in the state.

There is a deficiency of epidemiological surveies in the UK on this issue nevertheless data exists on economic modeling and independent reappraisals. Purshouse and co-workers developed an economic theoretical account around intoxicant pricing policies which shows that a 10 % addition in alcohol monetary value may diminish the ingestion by 4.4 % .14 The Sheffield group ( 2008 ) and the Home Office ( 2011 ) reviews besides back up these findings that increase in monetary value is related to diminish in consumption.15 16

Who benefits the most?

Surveies show that harmful drinkers are expected to cut down their ingestion the most with increasing price14 15 17 with an mean snap of -0.28 ( P & A ; lt ; 0.01 ) . 9 However, Meier and co-workers assert that moderate drinkers ( snap -0.47 ) are more monetary value sensitive than heavy drinkers ( snap -0.21 ) . 18 This may hold of import deductions as 45 % of the intoxicant is consumed by the 10 % of the heavy drinkers. 18Moreover, these findings indicate that increasing the monetary value of intoxicant would non hold a major impact on visible radiation and occasional drinkers, which is a changeless statement from the intoxicant industry. It has been indicated that a 10 % intoxicant monetary value rise decreases hebdomadal ingestion in 11-18 age group by 5.3 % and 18.24 age-group risky drinkers by 6 % . Other literature besides suggests that younger people are more elastic to alterations in monetary value than older people and may diminish their ingestion with monetary value increase.11 13 15 19 This can cut down the disproportionately high incidence of intoxicant related jobs such as route traffic accidents in this group.19

Quality-Quantity tradeoff – Switch overing to cheaper intoxicant

Literature besides points out that with increasing intoxicant monetary values consumers may non cut down their consumption but exchange trade names and locales and trade measure for quality. 18 20 This consumer behavior was observed in a survey done in Germany where alcopop ( sweetened, spirit-based drinks ) ingestion declined with an addition in revenue enhancement but was substituted by sprits. In order to avoid this exchanging behavior it is of import to modulate the costs of intoxicant overall, such as in Canada alternatively of modulating stray drinks. In add-on, it is imperative to see population heterogeneousness and besides take into history the habit-forming nature of intoxicant, when be aftering for any cost related intercession.

Association between pricing and alcohol-related injury

A survey done in Florida on the effects of intoxicant revenue enhancements points out that 69 deceases could be saved/ month with 1 unit addition in alcohol revenue enhancement ( p=0.007 ) with snap estimation of -0.22 ( p=0.06 ) . On the other manus Finland encountered 16-31 % addition in alcohol disease mortality with major lessenings in revenue enhancement. 21 A systematic reappraisal on effects of revenue enhancement on morbidity and mortality found a negative consequence of intoxicant monetary value on intoxicant related diseases and hurt results ( r=-0.347 ) , force ( r=-0.22 ) , suicide ( r=-0.48 ) , traffic clang results ( r=-0.112 ) , sexually transmitted diseases ( r=-0.055 ) , other drug usage ( r=-0.022 ) and offense ( r=-0.014 ) . 22 Another U.S. survey points out that $ 1 addition in spirit revenue enhancement may cut down the incidence of Cirrhosis by 5.4 % ( p & A ; lt ; 0.05 ) and a one cent addition in revenue enhancements per ounce of intoxicant would cut down the gross revenues by 2.1 % and 0.483 % decrease in all-cause mortality rates ( P & A ; lt ; 0.05 ) .8 In add-on, it besides showed a decrease in rates of colzas, robbery, homicides and any force towards kids. 8 It is estimated that a 10 % addition in alcohol monetary value will cut down hospital admittances by 10,100 and deceases by 232 per annum. Direct offense costs may besides be reduced by & A ; lb ; 70m/ annum.23 All these costs saved and increased gross may so be utilised in other plan to diminish alcohol related injury. 8

Bias, Confounding and Restrictions

While most of the literature discussed in this reappraisal high spots positive findings of intoxicant pricing and ingestion, it is of import to observe that this reappraisal involved a limited figure of databases. There may be a room to place more surveies if more databases such as ISI Web of Science, ScienceDirect and EMBASE etc were searched. There may besides be alot of gray literature relevant to the subject which was non identified. Government studies have been included in the reappraisal, which is strength of this reappraisal. Furthermore, most of the surveies discussed are either reappraisals, cross-sectional surveies or time-series analysis with limited longitudinal surveies and natural experiments. Some surveies may besides hold ecological false belief as they compare tendencies between different states and hence the consequences may non generalize at an single degree. The writer besides acknowledges that measuring of intoxicant ingestion is a complex issue and there may be mistakes in measuring, under-estimation or under-reporting of ingestion, under-representation of the consumers and the best proxy step may non hold been taken for ingestion indices. Additionally, with cross-sectional surveies there is a high opportunity of describing and recall prejudice, which might be an issue with some surveies and impact the overall quality of the reappraisal. There may besides be a job in generalisability and transferability of findings as each state differs socially, economically and politically. There may besides be multiple confounders in the association presented such as addition in imports when the monetary value goes up and anti-alcohol environment in the part which may explicate some of the consequence and which have non been discussed in item. Last, it is besides of import to admit that intoxicant pricing is merely one factor in intoxicant ingestion and there may be several other single, societal, cultural and behavioral factors that may necessitate to be looked at, in order to diminish intoxicant abuse.


The upward incline of intoxicant related injuries calls for immediate effectual intercessions to control this issue. In visible radiation of the literature above intoxicant monetary value can greatly modulate the intoxicant ingestion and cut down intoxicant related injury particularly in the harmful and risky immature drinkers. Hence, it can be a critical policy lever to command intoxicant abuse and intoxicant related injury in the state. The minimal pricing policy introduced in January is merely one time aspect of it, which will command the below-cost merchandising of intoxicant. However, policies around intoxicant usage demand to be stringent in order to cut down the social injury. In add-on, minimal pricing entirely is non the solution ; Alcohol abuse is a really complex job and needs multi-faceted intercessions to battle with it. There should be other every bit effectual intercessions in the sectors of wellness publicity, wellness protection and intervention sector in order to cover with this job efficaciously. Furthermore, in economic and political footings other policies related to alcohol pricing such as targeted revenue enhancement, revenue enhancement based on volume etc, besides need to be considered.