Public Health Scotland’s final report into minimum unit pricing finds it has saved lives and reduced hospital admissions

Posted on: 13th July 2023

Public Health Scotland's recently published final evaluation report on the impact of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) reveals compelling evidence of the policy's positive effects on health outcomes in Scotland. By significantly reducing alcohol-attributable deaths and hospital admissions, MUP has proven to be a life-saving measure.

The evaluation report reveals a remarkable 13.4% reduction in wholly attributable deaths and 4.1% reduction in wholly attributable hospital admissions, driven by a reduction in chronic alcohol conditions. It is estimated that MUP has saved 268 lives and averted 899 hospital admissions each year, on average, and reduced alcohol consumption in Scotland by 3%, and targeted consumption by those drinking at higher levels[1].

The report also found reducing alcohol-attributable deaths and hospital admissions, particularly in men and those living in the most deprived areas, contributes to addressing alcohol-related health inequalities.

One of the most significant strengths of MUP is its effective targeting of households with the highest alcohol consumption rates. Purchasing data indicates that the reduction in alcohol consumption was primarily driven by the heaviest purchasing households.

The British Liver Trust will also be attending an MUP roundtable with the Minister for Drugs and Alcohol, which will inform the government’s final report on minimum unit pricing.

Pamela Healy, Chief Executive of the British Liver Trust said: “We are facing a liver disease crisis across the UK. A major reason for this is, as a nation, we are drinking at harmful levels. Public Health Scotland’s final report into minimum unit pricing found the policy reduced deaths directly caused by alcohol consumption and reduced hospital admissions.

There is also clear evidence that the policy effectively targets those households where alcohol consumption is heaviest and addresses alcohol-related health inequalities.”

Overall, Public Health Scotland's final evaluation report provides clear evidence that Minimum Unit Pricing has yielded substantial benefits for public health in Scotland. By saving lives, reducing hospital admissions, effectively targeting heavy alcohol consumers, and addressing health inequalities, MUP has emerged as a powerful tool in combating the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption. These findings serve as a strong testament to the effectiveness of MUP in improving health outcomes and underline the importance of adopting evidence-based policies to protect and enhance public health.

Read the final report.

[1] Alcohol Minimum Pricing | Alcohol Focus Scotland (