The Swedish Public Health Agency has analyzed studies on minimum unit pricing (MUP) policies. The analysis published in a report reveals that MUP helps reduce health inequality.

Health equality is an important factor for increasing the quality of life of citizens. This in turn results in social and economic development of a country.

But alcohol causes negative health outcomes specifically in lower socio-economic groups. Harm caused by the products and practices of the alcohol industry often affect lower income groups and countries than higher income ones regardless of consumption levels – thus widening the gap of inequality.

Cheap alcohol products increase heavy alcohol use in the population. These products are created by the alcohol industry to target low-income and young people, as well as heavy alcohol users. As one analysis in the United Kingdom showed, the alcohol industry relies on heavy alcohol users for majority of their profits.

Alcohol floor brice to eliminarte ultra cheap booze

A policy measure which targets the problem of cheap alcohol and realted inequality is minimum unit pricing (MUP). This policy solution is currently not implemented in Sweden. The MUP policy sets a statutory minimum price per unit of alcohol. The Swedish Public Health Agency conducted a literature review on studies regarding MUP.

The analysis included 11 studies. Five of these were from England, three from Australia, two from Canada and one from Scotland. The results are as follows:

  • Minimum unit price contributes to reduced alcohol consumption and related morbidity and mortality.
  • The decrease is larger in groups with low income, routine/manual labour and/or a high level of alcohol consumption.
  • The impact on groups with a high socioeconomic position and/or a low level of alcohol consumption, on the other hand, is small and requires a high minimum unit price.

The literature review concludes that minimum unit price can contribute to reduced alcohol-related health inequality as the largest effects on alcohol consumption and related morbidity and mortality are seen in groups with low income, routine/manual labour and/or a high level of alcohol consumption. 

However, the agency notes that most of the included studies are modeling studies with a high level of uncertainty due to complexity and many assumptions. Moreover, the authors state transferability to Sweden should be considered.

Movendi International keeps reporting on the positive effects of MUP policies in several jurisdictions:

Source Website: Folkhalsomyndigheten