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Clin Med (Lond). 2014 Aug;14(4):396-403. doi: 10.7861/clinmedicine.14-4-396.

Impact of minimum price per unit of alcohol on patients with liver disease in the UK.

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Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.


The slow epidemic of liver disease in the UK over the past 30 years is a result of increased consumption of strong cheap alcohol. When we examined alcohol consumption in 404 subjects with a range of liver disease, we confirmed that patients with alcohol-related cirrhosis drank huge amounts of cheap alcohol, with a mean weekly consumption of 146 units in men and 142 in women at a median price of 33p/unit compared with £1.10 for low-risk drinkers. For the patients in our study, the impact of a minimum unit price of 50p/unit on spending on alcohol would be 200 times higher for patients with liver disease who were drinking at harmful levels than for low-risk drinkers. As a health policy, a minimum unit price for alcohol is exquisitely targeted at the heaviest drinkers, for whom the impact of alcohol-related illness is most devastating.


Alcohol; alcohol policy; cirrhosis; liver; minimum unit price

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