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BMJ Editorial: Alcohol – Who Is Paying The Price?

New Editorial in the British Medical Journal, by Prof. Ian Gilmore: Alcohol – who is paying the price?

The burden of alcohol harm on individual health, on families’  socio-economic well-being, on healthcare systems, as well as on economic productivity of companies and economies has been well documented. Alcohol is among the five leading causes of death and disability worldwide. It is responsible for 5.9% of deaths and 5.1% of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) lost each year.

However, many legislators have not yet come to terms with the economic arguments for the need to put in place cost-effective and high-impact alcohol policy measures to prevent alcohol harm and to reduce its burden on society. For instance, the European Commission has ignored calls from both Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) as well as EU governments for a new EU Alcohol Strategy. The new UK government seems unlikely to prioritise public health interests over lobbying from the alcohol industry, even though alcohol harm costs the British economy more than £21 billion (€29 billion; $32 billion) every year.

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