GP Network News Issue 12 Number 37

24 Sep 2012

Communiqué – National Summit on Alcohol Marketing to Young People

The AMA conducted a National Summit on Alcohol Marketing to Young People at Parliament House in Canberra this week, in association with the 70-member National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA).

Leading public health and non-government organisations, law enforcement bodies, youth associations, and experts in alcohol met to discuss the ubiquitous problem of young people and children being exposed to alcohol marketing (including in social media), and the policy and legislative reforms needed to curtail this.

The Summit heard from a number of leading researchers and academics in the field, and also heard views from a panel of prominent Federal Parliamentarians with portfolio interests in the area. The AMA also released a major report - Alcohol Marketing and Young People: Time for a new policy agenda.

From the deliberations and points of view expressed at the Summit, there was a broad consensus about the following key findings:

  • Young people in Australia are regularly exposed to alcohol marketing in the traditional contexts of television, radio, print and billboard media, and also increasingly in new platforms for marketing and promotion through digital technologies and new social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Young people routinely encounter alcohol promotion and sponsorship as a feature of music and sporting events where it is presented as a normalised part of being healthy and having fun.
  • Alcohol promotion affects young people’s attitudes to alcohol and their consumption behaviour, leading them to take up drinking and to drink more when they do.
  • Young people are at particular risk of harm from alcohol use. If left unaddressed, continued irresponsible alcohol marketing to young people will serve to escalate those risks and harms.
  • Today’s media environment is radically different to when the current policy responses in Australia regarding alcohol advertising were put in place, with increasing take up of Pay TV, more free to air channels, the explosion of social media and the shift to online content.
  • The current policy regime is totally inadequate in protecting young people from continued exposure to alcohol marketing. Industry self-regulation is deeply ineffective and has failed. It is time for a robust regulatory response that is independently and impartially applied, and which carries the force of meaningful sanctions.

The AMA and the NAAA believe that the exposure of children, teenagers and young people to alcohol advertising and promotion should be curtailed by government regulation, which is independent of the alcohol and advertising industries.

Click here for full press release.

Alcohol Industry self-regulation has failed

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said this week that alcohol industry self-regulation has failed and called on the Government to establish a Federal Inquiry into alcohol marketing in Australia.

Releasing a new AMA report – Alcohol Marketing and Young People: Time for a new policy agenda – Dr Hambleton said that alcohol marketing to young people was at an unprecedented level and was embracing new platforms, including social media, to lure teenagers and young adults into early and potentially harmful drinking patterns.

The Alcohol Marketing and Young People: Time for a new policy agenda report provides a comprehensive, contemporary overview of the methods, the tricks and the effects of alcohol marketing to young people.

“Our report examines the evidence base that links alcohol marketing to harmful drinking patterns among young people.

“We have surveyed the key features of contemporary alcohol marketing, reviewed the research literature on the effects of this marketing on young people, and concluded that there is a need for new and more robust policy responses.

“Self-regulation by the alcohol industry has failed. It is time for a proper inquiry into alcohol marketing and regulation, which exposes the failure of the current regime and proposes realistic and enforceable Government sanctions,” Dr Hambleton said.

Click here for full press release.

The AMA report, Alcohol Marketing and Young People: Time for a new policy agenda, is at

Veterans’ MATES – Proton Pump Inhibitors – How much for how long?

The latest topic in the Veterans’ Medicines Advice & Therapeutics Education Services (MATES) project is Proton Pump Inhibitors – How Much for How Long?

The therapeutic brief discusses the use of Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) medicines for the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and advocates the benefits of a step-down approach while maintaining adequate symptom control. A veteran brochure, Medicines for Heartburn and Reflux – How Much for How Long? has also been prepared.

Therapeutic briefs and a copy of the veteran brochure have been sent to GPs treating selected veterans identified in the RPBS dispensing data. Veteran patients will receive the brochure in October. Veterans’ MATES also sent topic materials to all registered pharmacies, Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy (AACP) members and Directors of Care at residential aged-care facilities.

This information and copies of previous topic material are available at

National Walk to Work Day

National Walk to Work Day is an annual event that encourages people to build regular walking into their daily routines. Regular walking can help beat obesity, prevent disease, improve mental health and enhance general wellbeing.

This year Walk to Work Day is on Friday 28 September 2012. GPs are encouraged to promote the event to patients. For more information go to

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AMA is the peak medical organisation in Australia representing the profession’s interests to Government and the wider community. Your Federal AMA General Practice Policy team can be contacted via email or by phone (02) 6270 5400. You can unsubscribe from GPNN by emailing