Give minimum pricing a chance

  • Post category:World News

The EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg has said he used to hope education would reduce alcohol misuse, but learning and reflection had shown economics were more important, hence his support for a minimum unit price (“EU commissioner backs minimum pricing ‘in principle'”, The Herald, May 8).

Letter to The Herald (Scotland)

Education and information are part of our decision-making, but as the advertising industry well knows, attitudes and availability matter more.

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems was the first policy group to call for minimum pricing in 2007, drawing on our medical and nursing members’ experience from their clinics and the international research base of what works. Minimum pricing is a novel concept but in our experience the more the idea is considered by individuals and institutions, the more it is supported as a solution which targets products most associated with harm and influences the behaviour of the people most at risk of harm.

The Court of Session’s judgment last week, which was supportive of the legality of minimum unit pricing, largely on the grounds of its effectiveness in improving health and saving lives, showed those who undertake a detailed consideration with an open mind come to understand the value of this policy.

Irrespective of the views of doctors, nurses, parliamentarians, judges, publicans, small brewers and now senior EU figures, the Scotch Whisky Association and allies seem determined to use their resources to pursue every legal avenue to oppose the law passed in the Scottish Parliament last year. It is time for them to accept the Court of Session judgment and the will of Parliament and give this policy a chance.

Dr Peter Rice, Chairman, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems,

12 Queen Street, Edinburgh.