In response to your article highlighting new research from Canadian academics (“Minimum alcohol pricing could reduce death rate”, 7 February) I want to draw your attention to some inaccuracies in the research which could mislead your readers.
The researchers claim the number of alcohol-related deaths dropped by nearly a third following a 10 per cent increase in the minimum unit price for drinks.
However, official statistics – available on the researchers’ own website – show the number of deaths actually rose during the period they studied from 1,073 in 2002 to 1,169 in 2009.
In addition, alcohol consumption also rose by 12 per cent over the same period.
Furthermore, it is important to recognise that the system in Canada is not comparable to the proposals to introduce minimum unit pricing of alcohol in the UK. Rules governing the sale of alcohol in Canada were born out of prohibition, with states given a monopoly on alcohol sold in separate government shops at a floor price.
Our industry is committed to tackling problem drinking and its consequences, but minimum unit pricing will not do that. Instead it will impact on the majority of responsible consumers while doing nothing to tackle the root causes of alcohol-harm.
Wine & Spirit Trade Association
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