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SABMiller welcomes WHA adoption of Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol

21 May 2010

SABMiller, one of the world's largest brewers, today cautiously welcomed the 63rd World Health Assembly's decision to adopt the World Health Organisation's Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol in Geneva (‘the Strategy').

SABMiller participated in the World Health Organisation's consultation process, which led up to the drafting of the Strategy.  The process included governments, brewers and other producers, NGOs and health professionals who helped to identify a range of recommendations that could be used to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.

SABMiller has a history of discouraging irresponsible drinking in its markets of operation.  It is committed to working with governments, NGOs and other stakeholders to address the harm caused by the minority of people who drink to excess, drink while under age, or drink and drive. SABMiller has a number of effective programmes and campaigns in place across all of its regions of operation to play its part in combating these problems.

The WHO Strategy covers ten alcohol policy areas including health services; community action; drink-driving; availability and marketing of alcohol; pricing and illicit or informally-produced alcohol.

SABMiller is supportive of a number of the policy options the Strategy recommends, in particular increasing the capability of health professionals in regard to identifying and treating patients with alcohol problems, noting that that the WHO's expertise in the area of public health is unparalleled. 

The group also fully endorses the recommendations made to prevent drink-driving and agrees with the WHO's approach to dealing with the public health impacts of illicitly- produced alcohol.  The WHO estimates that nearly half of alcohol consumed worldwide is in the informal market1.   However, SABMiller is unconvinced there is sufficient evidence to support policy options such as minimum pricing and high excise taxes that may result in unintended, negative public health consequences which stem from the growth of the illicit alcohol market.

Kristin Wolfe, Head of Alcohol Policy from SABMiller, said "We welcome the World Health Organisation's development of a Strategy that offers health officials a menu of policy options to prevent the harmful use of alcohol, rather than suggesting every policy choice would be appropriate for every country.  Governments need policy flexibility to respond effectively to alcohol-related harm in their local circumstances.  We look forward to continuing to work with governments and others to support the appropriate implementation of the Strategy and offer our expertise." 

1 Source: WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol 2004 ‘Unrecorded alcohol consumption' p 15.

ENDS


About SABMiller plc
SABMiller plc is one of the world's largest brewers with brewing interests and distribution agreements across six continents. The group's wide portfolio of brands includes premium international beers such as Grolsch, Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell, as well as market-leading local brands such as Aguila, Castle, Miller Lite, Snow and Tyskie.  SABMiller is also one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the world.

Enquiries:

Kristin WolfeHead of Alcohol Policy, SABMillerTel: +44 1483 263 446
Fiona Mulcahy

James Rossiter

Brunswick for SABMiller Tel: +44 207 404 5959 

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