Will Scotland get five years to test their minimum alcohol unit pricing policy? Donald Henderson, the head of public health in Scotland has pleaded for the alcohol industry to withdraw its court case against the Scottish government’s plan to introduce minimum unit pricing. Henderson asked instead to wait five years for the pioneering policy to complete its trial. At the sixth European Alcohol Policy Conference in Brussels last week, Henderson proposed that the plans be given a chance before being dismissed: “Let us do it for five years. If we fail, so be it.” According to Henderson, the Scottish government would repeal the policy after five years if it would prove to be ineffective. He added that the Scottish plans form an invaluable trial and it will add strong evidence about the effectiveness of minimum pricing policy. The proposal for introducing minimum unit pricing in Scotland has been challenged by Scotch whisky and wine producers and is currently in front of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The case is expected to conclude in 2016. However, in his presentation Henderson hinted that a verdict might take considerably longer. All this time that the court case is pending, the new law cannot be applied. Speaking about the critical alcohol industry lobby Henderson said: “What struck me in court is the long term damage the industry is doing to its reputation by the use and abuse of poor science”. He warned the alcohol industry that it risks “completely losing its credibility”. Source: just-drinks.com 12/02.14
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