Reducing harm caused by alcohol


SWA urged to respect minimum pricing decision

In an open letter to the Scotch Whisky Association Council, whose members include Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Edrington, public health and charity leaders say it is now time for their companies to respect the will of the Scottish Parliament and the Court’s decision.

Letter to Scotch Whisky Association

The letter states:

“The Scottish Parliament passed legislation on minimum unit pricing (MUP) four and a half years ago. No MSP voted against it and the policy is widely supported by doctors, social workers, children’s charities and the public.  Last Friday the Court of Session ruled, for a second and final time, that MUP is a legal, effective and proportionate measure.

“In the time since you began your legal action, minimum unit pricing could have prevented hundreds of Scots from dying and thousands more from suffering alcohol-related ill health, injury or crime.

“We support the World Health Organization position that alcohol producers have a limited role in alcohol strategy, restricted to their role as developers, producers, distributors, marketers and sellers of alcoholic beverages. The European Court of Justice ruling confirmed that it was primarily for the state to determine both the level of protection which it wished to afford to its citizens’ life and health and the means by which that level of protection could be achieved. That is what the Scottish Parliament did by passing the MUP legislation.

“Now is the time for your companies to respect the will of the Scottish Parliament and the Court’s decision and, at long last, to drop this ill-judged and damaging legal action.”

The letter is signed by fifteen organisations including Alcohol Focus Scotland, Cancer Research UK, BMA Scotland, Children in Scotland and the Scottish Directors of Public Health.