Harmful drinkers with liver cirrhosis would be 200 times more affected by introducing minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol than low risk drinkers.
The government is currently deciding whether to implement MUP, which would price alcoholic beverages according to how many units of alcohol are in them.
By introducing MUP drinks with a high number of units, which are currently being sold at low prices, will see a massive price increase.
Researchers from the University of Southampton found that patients with alcohol-related cirrhosis drink the equivalent of four bottles of vodka per week, and were buying the cheapest they could find – paying around 33p per unit.
However, low risk, moderate drinkers pay around £1.10 per unit on average.
An MUP of 50p per unit would not affect prices in pubs or bars, and would have no impact on moderate drinkers, the researchers claim.
The researchers believe that a minimum unit price is the “fairest and most effective” way to tackle problem drinking in the UK.
Evidence suggests that alcohol sold to heavy drinkers provides three-quarters of the profits of the UK drinks industry, of which alcohol sold to very heavy drinkers provides one third.
Professor Nick Sheron, from the University of Southampton said: “When the government says it is concerned about the impact of MUP on moderate drinkers, they are simply repeating propaganda which has been put out by the drinks industry to try and preserve the huge profits they are making from people drinking at really dangerous levels.
“The House of Commons Health Committee has stated in the past that they were concerned the policies were much closer to and influenced by the drinks industry and supermarkets than expert health professionals – and this is still the problem.
“Unless policy makers start listening to the evidence liver deaths will rise even further.”
The research, published in Clinical Medicine, studied the amount and type of alcohol drink my 404 liver patients, also asking how much they paid for alcohol.