To assess the evidence for price-based alcohol policy interventions to determine whether minimum unit pricing (MUP) is likely to be effective.
Systematic review and assessment of studies according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, against the Bradford Hill criteria for causality. Three electronic databases were searched from inception to February 2017. Additional articles were found through hand searching and grey literature searches.
CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDIES:
We included any study design that reported on the effect of price-based interventions on alcohol consumption or alcohol-related morbidity, mortality and wider harms. Studies reporting on the effects of taxation or affordability and studies that only investigated price elasticity of demand were beyond the scope of this review. Studies with any conflict of interest were excluded. All studies were appraised for methodological quality.
Of 517 studies assessed, 33 studies were included: 26 peer-reviewed research studies and seven from the grey literature. All nine of the Bradford Hill criteria were met, although different types of study satisfied different criteria. For example, modelling studies complied with the consistency and specificity criteria, time series analyses demonstrated the temporality and experiment criteria, and the analogy criterion was fulfilled by comparing the findings with the wider literature on taxation and affordability.