Avoidable cost of alcohol project

Swedish data were used to estimate the avoidable costs associated with cessation of alcohol use. Meta-analyses were conducted where sufficient epidemiological data were available to estimate the reversibility of all alcohol-related diseases. These were later employed in calculating the avoidable healthcare and associated QALY losses of alcohol consumption in Sweden. The estimates considered impacts on different groups, for example by age and gender. In addition an alternative method has been used to estimate the avoidable cost of liver cirrhosis.

Outcome and Translation

Identifying avoidable cost is important in order to prioritise between different social concerns and to accurately rank alcohol policies based on their cost-effectiveness. For some diseases, the lag time from drinking cessation to reduced mortality and morbidity was shown to be lengthy. However, the reviews identified areas where limited data suggested more research is required to improve the robustness of results. There were also issues related to heterogeneity in the population characteristics of current drinkers, abstainers and former drinkers which need to be accounted for.

The results have been used in the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model and have informed an application to the Swedish Research Council for a programme grant to model the effects of interventions.

HERU researchers involved in this research project: Anne Ludbrook

External Collaborators: U-G Gerdtham, CH Lyttkens, J Jarl (Lund University); P Lundborg (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam); and D Petrie (University of Dundee)


Jarl, J., Gerdtham, U.-G., Ludbrook, A. and Petrie, D. (2010) 'On measurement of avoidable and unavoidable cost of alcohol: an application of method for estimating costs due to prior consumption', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7(7), 2881-2895.