A group of high-profile health campaigners has urged the Government to implement tough new regulations on alcohol, including minimum pricing, ahead of publication of the new Alcohol Strategy. Writing in medical journal The Lancet, the group, which includes Alcohol Health Alliance chairman Ian Gilmore, criticised the voluntary Responsibility Deal on Alcohol. “Given that the primary requirement for these industries is to deliver shareholder value by maximising consumption, there is a fundamental and unspoken conflict of interest at the heart of this initiative,” they wrote. “An Alcohol Strategy for England is due to be published this year, and there are welcome signs that the Government might reconsider the evidence-based strategies of increasing price, reducing availability, and preventing marketing of alcohol to children and young people. “Most importantly, the Prime Minister recently spoke in support of an effective minimum price per unit. Can the UK Government... afford to duck effective action on alcohol that will have such a positive impact on crime and disorder, work productivity, and health? “The UK Government will have to withstand powerful lobbying from the drinks industry, but the potential prize of reversing this tragic toll of alcohol-related deaths is there for the taking.” The group, who believe the UK is at a “potential tipping point” in taking on the “shameful loss of life caused by alcohol”, said a “key attraction” of minimum pricing is that it “does not substantially alter on-trade prices”. Overall, the group say more than 200,000 people in England and Wales could die early from alcohol problems over the next 20 years. The Alcohol Strategy is due to be released in the next few weeks. Pricing is expected to be included in the Strategy, although it’s not clear whether minimum pricing will be pursued; David Cameron is know to favour the move, but others, notably Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, have reservations.