Effects of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in South Africa across different drinker groups and wealth quintiles: a modelling study

Gibbs, N., Angus, C., Dixon, S., Parry, C. and Meier, P. (2021) Effects of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in South Africa across different drinker groups and wealth quintiles: a modelling study. BMJ Open, 11(8), e052879. (doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-052879) (PMID:34373316)

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Objectives: To quantify the potential impact of minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol on alcohol consumption, spending and health in South Africa. We provide these estimates disaggregated by different drinker groups and wealth quintiles. Design: We developed an epidemiological policy appraisal model to estimate the effects of MUP across sex, drinker groups (moderate, occasional binge, heavy) and wealth quintiles. Stakeholder interviews and workshops informed model development and ensured policy relevance. Setting South African drinking population aged 15+. Participants: The population (aged 15+) of South Africa in 2018 stratified by drinking group and wealth quintiles, with a model time horizon of 20 years. Main outcome measures: Change in standard drinks (SDs) (12 g of ethanol) consumed, weekly spend on alcohol, annual number of cases and deaths for five alcohol-related health conditions (HIV, intentional injury, road injury, liver cirrhosis and breast cancer), reported by drinker groups and wealth quintile. Results: We estimate an MUP of R10 per SD would lead to an immediate reduction in consumption of 4.40% (−0.93 SD/week) and an increase in spend of 18.09%. The absolute reduction is greatest for heavy drinkers (−1.48 SD/week), followed by occasional binge drinkers (−0.41 SD/week) and moderate drinkers (−0.40 SD/week). Over 20 years, we estimate 20 585 fewer deaths and 9 00 332 cases averted across the five health-modelled harms. Poorer drinkers would see greater impacts from the policy (consumption: −7.75% in the poorest quintile, −3.19% in richest quintile). Among the heavy drinkers, 85% of the cases averted and 86% of the lives saved accrue to the bottom three wealth quintiles. Conclusions: We estimate that MUP would reduce alcohol consumption in South Africa, improving health outcomes while raising retail and tax revenue. Consumption and harm reductions would be greater in poorer groups.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:g This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust Doctoral Training Centre in Public Health Economics and Decision Science [108903/Z/19/Z] and the University of Sheffield [no award number]. Also the South African Medical Research Council [no award number].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Meier, Professor Petra
Authors: Gibbs, N., Angus, C., Dixon, S., Parry, C., and Meier, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:BMJ Open
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN (Online):2044-6055
Published Online:09 August 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMJ Open 11(8): e052879
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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