Professor Iain Gilmore, former president of the Royal College of Physicians, and Dr Nick Sheron, from the National Institute of Health Research, together with members of the British Society of Gastroenterologists, set out a "worst case scenario" of up to 210,000 preventable deaths over the next 20 years.
The projected figures include a possible 70,000 deaths from liver disease. With an estimated £2.7bn cost to the NHS from alcohol related harm, the comments by Professor Gilmore and his associates come swiftly after the British Liver Trust described deaths from liver disease as the equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every 17 days.
The group are critical of the government's Responsibility Deal, and claim it is "entirely within the power of the UK government" to address the level of alcohol-related harm through legislative action on pricing, availability and marketing.
Alcohol Concern Chief Executive, Eric Appleby, said: "What we have to accept is that doing nothing is no longer a responsible option for alcohol policy, and that trying to 'nudge' drinking culture through information and persuasion has proved to be little better than doing nothing."
However Henry Ashworth, chief executive of the Portman Group spoke out against the claims. Ashworth said "painting doomsday scenarios" and "calling for Soviet Union-style population controls" would only serve to alienate the majority of people who drink responsibly. See BBC, Guardian and Morning Advertiser reports.
See here for a factcheck on alcohol-related deaths and costs to the NHS from FullFact.org. David Cameron recently pledged to "tackle the scandal of alcohol abuse" - a new National Alcohol Strategy is due out later this year.