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Report casts doubts on economic rationale for cuts to alcohol taxes.
A new report from the Institute of Alcohol Studies, Splitting the Bill: Alcohol's Impact on the UK Economy, argues that the economic benefits of the alcohol industry are overstated, undermining the economic case for cutting alcohol duty in next month's Budget.
The report draws on government and trade statistics, academic evidence and economic theory to challenge arguments that the health and social benefits of reducing alcohol consumption are likely to come at a cost to the economy, finding:
- Any reduction in employment and income resulting from lower spending on alcohol would be offset by spending on other goods
- Econometric analysis of US states suggests that a 10% decrease in alcohol consumption is associated with a 0.4% increase in per capita income growth
- Lower alcohol consumption could also reduce the economic costs of impaired workplace productivity, alcohol-related sickness, unemployment and premature death, which are estimated to cost the UK £8-11 billion a year.
The analysis comes at a timely moment, with health groups urging the Chancellor to raise alcohol duty in next month's Budget. Earlier this month, the Alcohol Health Alliance called for higher tax on high strength ciders and the reintroduction of the duty escalator, which ensured that alcohol taxes rose above inflation each year. Public Health England also recently identified raising duty as one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce alcohol-related harm.
The report's author, Aveek Bhattacharya, Policy Analyst at the Institute of Alcohol Studies said:
"Economic arguments are regularly used to resist policies that tackle excessive alcohol consumption, such as raising duty. Yet raising the price of alcohol is more likely to benefit the economy than harm it, by reducing the productivity costs associated with workers' harmful alcohol consumption."
"Cuts to alcohol duty impose a heavy toll on our health service and our public finances, with no clear corresponding benefit to the economy. The Government should reverse course, and undo the damage of four successive years of falling tax on alcohol duty."
Splitting the Bill: Alcohol's Impact on the UK Economy is available for download from the Institute of Alcohol Studies website > here.
The University of Birmingham and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, with support from the RCP HIU, are developing national data standards for recording alcohol and tobacco use in electronic patient records. Recording alcohol and tobacco use in health records is essential for identifying patients at high risk of future harm and for providing effective interventions.
The views of patients, carers, healthcare professionals, researchers, and clinical information system suppliers are currently being sought through two online surveys (one on alcohol and one on smoking) to inform the development of the proposed data standards to ensure that they are appropriate, acceptable, and implementable across the NHS.
Your views are important:
• To complete the alcohol survey please click > here
• To complete the tobacco survey please click > here
Closing date: 5pm, 17 February 2017
On Friday 20th January, Ian Murray MP, the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South, visited Edinburgh Royal Infirmary’s Gastroenterology Ward to discuss the effects of excessive alcohol consumption as part of the Alcohol Health Alliance’s (AHA) ‘Day of Action’.
This national initiative, instigated with the British Association for the Study of the Liver, sees the AHA working with doctors to raise awareness of alcohol-related liver disease.
The local MP met with Consultant Gastroenterologist Dr Alastair MacGilchrist to discuss his work and the impact that alcohol-related disease has on the lives of many of his constituents, and they met a number of Dr MacGilchrist’s patients to see first-hand the effect of cheap alcohol consumption on individuals.
Speaking at the visit, Ian Murray MP said:
“From my conversations with Dr MacGilchrist today it is clear that excessive alcohol consumption is having a devastating impact on the lives of too many people in my constituency and across Scotland. The ready availability of cheap alcohol is a huge part of this, and tackling the low cost of alcohol, as well as discouraging excessive consumption, should both be priorities for the Government. I welcome the work of the Alcohol Health Alliance on this, and I hope that their Day of Action is successful in raising awareness in communities across the country”.
This webinar is for anyone who wants to understand the challenges to reduce liver disease.
By joining the webinar participants will:
Explore the variations in liver disease risk factors and outcomes
Learn about PHEs programmes of action on liver disease
Look at time series data to identify where variation has improved, stayed the same or got worse
Explore the stories behind the data
Have an opportunity to ask a question to the national team
The webinar* will be held on Thursday 26 January 2016 - 2:00pm and 3:00pm.
Registration is FREE for this event and if you have already expressed an interest in attending this webinar, then we will have your details on our system. If you have not registered, please do so > Here:
If you have any questions about registration, please contact Kerry.email@example.com .
*Webinar details will be sent out prior to the session
The Gilead UK and Ireland Fellowship Programme 2017 will open soon for grant applications in the therapy area of viral hepatitis. The aim of the programme is to support local innovation and best practice in patient care.
The programme invites applications from healthcare or allied professionals that:
1. Innovative local integrated initiatives to evaluate effectiveness of non-hospital based HCV treatment service models
2. Novel HCV care pathways using partnership models demonstrating measurable improvements in patient engagement
Projects which fall outside of this scope but which will add clinical value or which investigate an area of unmet need within viral hepatitis can also be submitted and will be reviewed for their merit.
The Gilead UK and Ireland Fellowship Programme started in 2009, and since its inception has supported over 150 projects in the areas of HIV, Viral Hepatitis, Respiratory, Invasive Fungal Disease and Oncology.
You can apply for a viral hepatitis grant by clicking > here .
Due to the current post holder having being elected as Chair of the British Viral Hepatitis Group (BVHG) the BVHG are seeking nominations / expressions of interest for the post of Secretary.
The British Viral Hepatitis Group aims to improve the management and study of patients with chronic viral liver disease, bringing together UK hepatologists, gastroenterologists, infectious disease physicians, virologists and interested epidemiologists.
BVHG Committee Secretary
The BVHG Secretary is elected by the BASL / BVHG membership to serve for a period of up to three year’s and may be re-elected once. The Secretary is responsible for running the administrative tasks pertaining to his/her function and will work closely with the BASL Secretariat, which is appointed by the BASL Governing Board.
The BVHG is commissioned by the BASL Governing Board to:
• a) promote research and the exchange of scientific information concerning viral hepatitis;
• b) foster multicentre scientific studies pertaining to viral hepatitis within the UK;
• c) promote education of physicians, surgeons, clinical nurse specialists and scientists with regard to viral hepatitides and their management;
• d) Promote interaction between clinical disciplines to promote good care of patients and foster research and clinical trials.
Candidates wishing to be considered for election will require one BASL member to propose them and a second BASL member to confirm their suitability for the role in writing.
Please email Judy Hawksworth at the BASL Secretariat Judith@execbs.com with your nominations by 17:00 on Friday 6th January 2017. Following this time candidate statements will be requested and voting will take place if necessary.
If you require any further information about this role please contact Dr Ahmed Elsharkawy at Ahmed.ElSharkawy@uhb.nhs.uk or contact Judy Hawksworth as above.
Direct-acting antiviral (DAA)-based therapies are effective and well-tolerated for HCV patients with stage four to five chronic kidney disease, a meta-analysis of published studies shows.
Reviewers at the Second Hospital of Shandong University in China found 11 studies involving a total of 264 patients. The pooled SVR12 rate was 93.2% for the total population, 89.4% for sofosbuvir-based therapies, and 94.7% for non-sofosbuvir-based therapies. For HCV genotype 1 patients, the pooled SVR12 rate was 93.1%.
The pooled incidence of serious adverse events was 12.1%, and the pooled discontinuation rate because of adverse events or serious adverse events was 2.2%.
Efficacy and safety of DAA-based antiviral therapies for HCV patients with stage 4-5 chronic kidney disease: a meta-analysis. Li T, Qu Y, Guo Y et al. Liver Int. 2016 Dec 10 [Epub ahead of print]
A large observational study in the USA confirmed haemophilia per se does not have a specific influence on transplant outcomes in HCV patients, but that HIV infection increases the risk of mortality in both haemophilic (H) and non-haemophilic (NH) patients.
Researchers identified 2,502 HCV-positive liver transplant candidates from eight US university-based transplant centres between 2004 and 2010, including 144 HIV-positive and 2,358 HIV-negative; 36 H and 2,466 NH; 1,213 transplanted and 1,289 not transplanted patients.
In univariate analysis, 90-day pre-transplant mortality was associated with higher baseline MELD (hazard ratio 1.15), lower baseline platelet count (hazard ratio 1.11 per 25k/µL), and having HIV/HCV-positive haemophilia.
In multivariate analysis, pre-transplant mortality was associated with higher MELD and was significantly greater in HIV-positive than HIV- groups, but did not differ between HIV-positive H and NH (hazard ratio 1.7). Among HIV/HCV-positive, post-transplant mortality was similar between H and NH, despite lower CD4 in H.
Haemophilia liver transplantation observational study (HOTS). Ragni MV, Humar A, Stock PG et al. Liver Transpl. 2016 Dec 9 [Epub ahead of print]
A significant number of HCV patients develop a major depressive episode (MDE) during interferon-alpha (IFN-α) based immunotherapy, and several mechanisms may be involved.
Authors of a new literature review found eight unique references which met their inclusion criteria, and which involved 826 people with HCV (37.3% females). The overall MDE incidence rate was 34.8%, with follow-up ranging between four and 48 weeks. The methodological quality varied across selected studies. It was found that Interleukin-6, salivary cortisol, arachidonic acid/eicosapentaenoicacid plus ocosahexaenoic acid ratio, and genetic polymorphisms may present variations which are linked to a predisposition to INF-α-induced depression.
However, a meta-analysis could not be performed because of the diverse biological mechanisms investigated and the lack of replicated evidence. The reviewers, therefore, concluded the mechanisms involved in IFN-α-induced depression in humans remained unclear.
Biological mechanisms of depression following treatment with interferon for chronic hepatitis C: a critical systematic review. Machado MO, Oriolo G, Bortolato B et al. J Affect Disord. 2016 Nov 27; 209:235-245 [Epub ahead of print]