Scientific Article
Australia: The Effects of Alcohol Pricing Policies

Heng Jiang, Robin Room, Michael Livingston, Sarah Callinan, Alan Brennan, Christopher Doran, Michael Thorn
Jiang H, Room R, Livingston M, et al The effects of alcohol pricing policies on consumption, health, social and economic outcomes, and health inequality in Australia: a protocol of an epidemiological modelling study BMJ Open 2019;9:e029918. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029918
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    BMJ Open
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The Effects of Alcohol Pricing Policies on Consumption, Health, Social and Economic Outcomes, and Health Inequality in Australia: A Protocol of an Epidemiological Modelling Study

Research article



Alcohol use is associated with substantial health and social issues in Australia and internationally. Pricing policy is considered as one of the most effective means to reduce alcohol use and related harms. This protocol paper describes a study that will model and estimate the effects, effectiveness and cost-benefit of alcohol pricing policy initiatives in reducing alcohol use, health and social harms, and health inequalities among sub-populations in Australia.

Methods and Analysis

The study is a modelling and epidemiological study using data from various resources, such as survey, previous literatures and response agencies.

A number of statistical procedures will be undertaken to evaluate the impact of different alcohol pricing policy initiatives on various outcomes, including alcohol consumption in population subgroups, and health and social problems, and to measure health inequalities and cost-effectiveness of those proposed pricing policies, such as a 10% tax increase on all alcohol beverages or introduction of a minimum unit price.

Ethics and Dissemination

The ethics approval of this study was obtained from the College Human Ethics Sub-Committee of the La Trobe University. While examining the heterogeneous effects of price policy across population subgroups, this study will provide the first comprehensive estimates of the likely impacts of alcohol price changes on health inequalities. The study will also provide sophisticated economic analyses of the impact of price policy changes, which is critical information for policy makers and will assist policy makers in directing resources to a more efficient alcohol strategy. Results will be made available to communities and societies, health departments and other researchers.

Strengths and limitations

  • Using both survey and response agency data, this is the first study to model and estimate the effects, effectiveness and cost–benefit of alcohol pricing policy initiatives in reducing alcohol use, health-related harms and health inequalities in Australia.
  • Using Australian Harm to Others Survey and National Drug Strategy Household Survey data and data from systematic reviews, dose–response relationships between consumers’ alcohol consumption and various social harms will be measured. This is the first study that examines the effects of alcohol pricing policy initiatives on various social outcomes in the field.
  • The protocol will serve as a guideline for other countries to build up a systematic modelling approach to model and estimate the effects of alcohol pricing policy on non-communicable diseases, injuries, assaults, violence, homicide and harm to others among subpopulations.
  • Recall bias in the survey interview may mean the study’s results on alcohol consumption or purchasing are underestimated.

Source Website: NCBI