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Views And Reviews

Why is Matt Hancock actively ruling out minimum unit pricing for alcohol?

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 15 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l190
  1. Alison Douglas, chief executive1,
  2. Ian Gilmore, director, chair23
  1. 1Alcohol Focus Scotland, UK
  2. 2Liverpool Centre for Alcohol Research, UK
  3. 3Alcohol Health Alliance UK
  1. I.Gilmore{at}

Research shows that MUP does not “punish” moderate drinkers and is an effective measure to discourage excessive drinking

It has been a week of mixed messages from the health secretary, Matt Hancock. In his statement to parliament on the NHS long term plan, he emphasised that at its heart is the principle that prevention is better than cure, and he highlighted the active role that the health service will take in helping people to cut their risk factors, including reducing alcohol intake. Yet in the same week he was widely quoted in the media saying that alcohol is only a problem for a small minority, perpetuating the myth promulgated by the alcohol industry.

While Public Health England (PHE) figures suggest that less than 5% of us drink one third of all alcohol consumed, they also show that “the combination of increasing risk, higher risk, and extreme drinkers accounts for about 25% of the population and consumes over 75% of the total self reported alcohol consumption.” That means one in four of us is putting our …

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