Reviving the Public Debates on Liver Disease

by Incisive Health for Foundation for Liver Research

Summary of work

Liver disease has become one of the UK’s gravest public health challenges; however, ideological concerns of politicians and the public about interventions to combat its main causes – alcohol misuse, obesity and viral hepatitis – have been reinforced by the media, and therefore stunted progress.

The Foundation for Liver Research (FfLR), working closely with the Lancet Commission on Liver Disease, reinvigorated the debates by highlighting the financial impact of liver disease across society. By engaging with the media, new financial forecasts on alcohol misuse contained in the FfLR’s paper, Financial case for action on liver disease, and press release were covered extensively, including on The Guardian’s front page and by other papers, on television, radio and social media. To create maximum noise, the FfLR leveraged the Lancet Commission’s influence, supporting members to participate in the media engagement.

Shortly after, meetings were secured with senior officials in the Treasury, Department of Health and Home Office, who saw that tackling the issues could be politically attractive.

By combining the heightened media interest with stakeholder discussions and parliamentary scrutiny, the FfLR’s campaign paved the way for the introduction of a new duty band for high-strength cider.

Judges’ comments

This entry shone a new light on a historical yet challenging debate, which the judges loved. The team delivered laser-focused objectives, a spot-on strategy and intelligent insights, which drove real change.