//Notable Policy Developments Around the World – 27 August 2019

Notable Policy Developments Around the World – 27 August 2019


We share below recent developments. As always, we rely on FIVS Members to apprise us of noteworthy matters. Please contact the FIVS Secretariat with items you believe may be of interest.


  • Linkages Between Drinking and Breast Cancer: We have recently reported on epidemiological studies which have suggested that even low levels of alcohol are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.  As detailed in this September 2018 article by Dr. Sam Zakhari of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, associated epidemiological studies do not prove causation between alcohol and breast cancer. This assertion regarding causation is supported by a new, more extensive UK study in the New Scientist, (pending publication) which involved 300,000 women. As reported in this article, the study focused on women who drank more due to genetic predispositions resulting from a lower level of a certain liver enzyme. The study found that they did not have a higher rate of breast cancer.  In addition, the attached recently published study titled, “Genome-wide Causation Studies of Complex Diseases,” which cited Dr. Zakhari’s article, stated that, “association analysis is not a direct method to discover the causal mechanism of complex diseases.”


  • Drinking Trends: This article discusses how non-drinkers are increasingly opting for non-alcohol beer and spirits, rather than for soft drinks. This piece discusses the growing trend toward alcohol-free drinking in Western countries. At the same time, major alcohol beverage producers are beginning to expand into this new market.
  • France – Health Minister Proposes Total Ban on Stadium Alcohol Sales: Vendors are currently allowed to sell alcohol beverages to patrons in selected areas and boxes in stadiums, but not to the wider audience in the stands. Deputies from the Forward! (LREM) party have proposed correcting this unequal situation by allowing alcohol sales throughout the entire stadium. Meanwhile, the French Ministry has come out against the idea, suggesting that sales should be banned totally. The National Assembly is expected to consider the matter later in the year.
  • United States – Update on Pennsylvania “Flexible Pricing” Model: As discussed in this 31 July 2019 Alert, FIVS joined other associations around the world in opposing the adoption of a “flexible pricing” model by the State of Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board. There has been considerable press on this matter, including the reactions of the Pennsylvania State authorities and testimony on the situation.


  • Lithuania – Prime Minister Would Consider Cancelling ban on Outdoor Alcohol Sales: The government has amended the “Alcohol Control Act” in 2017 to introduce strict availability controls, including a ban on alcohol sales at outdoor cafes that would take effect in 2020.  The amendments will also increase the legal purchase age from 18 to 20 years old, prohibit alcohol advertisements, and further restrict the hours of the sale for alcohol. The Hotel and Restaurant Association has pointed out that this measure will have undesirable consequences (e.g., forcing the closing of 150 outdoor cafes, harming the business of tourist venues, such as camping sites) while not effectively curbing harmful drinking.
  • Poland – The Polish Health Ministry Proposes Minimum Pricing: The Polish Agency for Solving Alcohol Problems (PARPA) has recommended that the government introduce a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol by either 1.5 or 2 złoty (USD $0.50) per 10 g of pure alcohol, in an attempt to curb rising consumption. PARPA has also suggested banning alcohol price promotions and giveaways. At the same time, there are indications by the Ministry of Health that the government does not intend to create an MUP scheme for alcohol.