Published Friday, 01 March 2013
Bars in Belfast stop serving alcohol at 1am. (© Getty)
A report carried out by the University of Stirling looked at proposals for curbing what has been described as "the nation's drink problem".
It suggests tough pricing thresholds for Northern Ireland, England and Wales, and calls for an independent body to be set up to regulate alcohol promotion - including packaging and design.
Scotland has already passed legislation to set the minimum price at 50p.
Last year, Health Minister Edwin Poots launched a cross-border strategy to combat the problems of alcohol misuse here and in the Republic, which has been looking at minimum pricing.
According to the Health Department's research, it costs up to £900m a year to deal with alcohol related issues - £250m of which is paid by the health sector.
In 2010 and 2011, there were 12,000 admissions to acute hospitals with an alcohol-related diagnosis and 355 admissions for liver disease.
A ban on 'all you can drink'-style promotions comes into place later this year.
Further recommendations in the new report, Health First: An evidence-based alcohol strategy for the UK, say products should be taxed based on the volume of alcohol contained and the drink-drive limit should be reduced to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Urging the government to adopt the measures, Sir Ian Gilmore of the Alcohol Health Alliance said he fears the UK is being "left behind".
He said: "Governments across the UK have begun to take action to reduce the harm that alcohol can cause. This action is very welcome but needs to go further.
"In developing this strategy, we considered the best available evidence about appropriate policies and interventions that are needed both to reduce drinking levels in individuals and reduce the damage to families and communities that alcohol can cause."
Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said: "This important strategy demonstrates the clear evidence that the Government must push on with its commitment to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol.
"Once it is fully implemented, research suggests that a 50p minimum unit price will prevent more than 3,000 alcohol-related deaths and 40,000 crimes in England each year.
"The Government has been listening to the public health community to understand the facts behind minimum pricing, and this strategy outlines all the best available evidence for where we need to go next."