Heather Black, Jan Gill, Jonathan Chick†
Article first published online: 6 DEC 2010
In his 2009 annual report , the Chief Medical Officer for England predicted that there would be a reduction in health and social harms plus economic benefits if a minimum price for a unit of alcohol was set at 50 pence (£0.50). These predictions were based on models produced by Meier et al. (2009) and Purshouse et al. (2010), of the University of Sheffield [2,3]. The importance to health of setting a minimum price was made forcefully by Groves . In Scotland, the current minority government has included minimum pricing as one of its proposed set of alcohol policies, but opposition parties to date have declined to accept this, partly on the grounds of lack of evidence that it would have the desired effects.
The literature on the elasticities of alcohol purchasing across several countries, reviewed in meta-analyses by Wagenaar et al.  and Gallet et al. , concluded a median elasticity of −0.51 and −0.497, respectively, implying that a 10% rise in price might be expected to reduce overall demand for alcohol by about 5%.