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15/11/2017

Congratulations to Scotland

Eurocare would like to extend our congratulations to our members Alcohol Focus Scotland and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP)

Alcohol Focus Scotland's response available here:
http://www.alcohol-focus-scotland.org.uk/news/minimum-pricing-gets-green-light/

Please find SHAAP's press release below:

The Scottish medical professions are celebrating today’s decision by the UK Supreme Court which clears the way for the implementation of the Scottish Government’s Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 early next year, which sets a minimum unit price of 50 pence per unit for alcohol.

The Supreme Court’s decision brings to an end the costly and time-consuming legal challenges by global alcohol producers, fronted by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), to try to block the implementation of the legislation, which was passed without opposition by the Scottish Parliament in 2012. The legal battle has included a referral to the European Court of Justice, which returned the decision-making to the Scottish Courts, which twice concluded resoundingly in favour of the Scottish Government’s Act. The Supreme Court judges’ ruling gives the go-ahead for implementation of the policy early in 2018.

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) was established in 2006 as a partnership of the Scottish Medical Royal Colleges, concerned about the growing number of hospitalisations and deaths due to alcohol consumption in Scotland. In 2007, SHAAP and its partners made one of the first public calls for action to introduce MUP to tackle the problem of cheap alcohol that was doing most damage to the most vulnerable drinkers and their families.

In its Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol (2010), the World Health Organization signalled MUP as a policy ‘Best Buy’ to tackle and reduce alcohol-related harms, including hospitalisations, deaths and harm to others.

In the five years that the implementation of the Scottish MUP law has been delayed, more than 6,000 heavy drinkers have died due to their alcohol use. According to the National Records of Scotland, in 2016, there were 1,265 alcohol-related deaths, an increase of ten per cent from the previous year.

Harmful and hazardous drinkers are mainly reliant on cheap vodka and white cider, the products that will increase in price most with MUP. According to Health Economists at the University of Sheffield, setting MUP at 50 pence in Scotland is likely to lead to 117 fewer alcohol-related deaths per year among hazardous and harmful drinkers. Opinion polls have consistently shown that the MUP policy is supported by a majority of Scots, and by almost all doctors and health professionals.

Dr Eric Carlin, Director of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), said:

“At long last this important life-saving measure can be enacted. I am grateful to the Scottish Government, and the First Minister in particular, as well as partners across the health and voluntary sectors in the UK and Europe, for championing MUP, against ferocious, cynical opposition by the Scotch Whisky Association and its backers.

“The opponents to MUP have shamed the reputation of their industry by prioritising profits over people’s lives. As MUP has been delayed, we have seen the tragic, premature deaths of 24 people every week in Scotland as a result of alcohol misuse, many of them in our poorest communities, and affecting families across our nation. I strongly urge the global alcohol producers to now cease their activities to undermine public health in pursuit of profit here and across the globe.

“I look forward to MUP coming into effect as part of a refreshed package of measures to reduce alcohol-related harm in Scotland. Hopefully, the other nations of the United Kingdom will also implement similar policies.”

Dr Peter Rice, Chair of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) said:

“This is great news for the health and well-being of people in Scotland. Frontline staff from health and other sectors see the damage caused by alcohol on a daily basis. This harm is disproportionately caused by the cheapest alcohol which Minimum Unit Pricing will remove.

“The scientific and clinical evidence supporting Minimum Pricing assembled by SHAAP and others has stood up against a rigorous analysis over a series of legal challenges led by the Scotch Whisky Association and it has been dispiriting to see them place their self-interest ahead of the public good over the five years since the Scottish Parliament passed this law. We look forward to the swift implementation of this life-saving measure”.

For further information please contact: Dr Eric Carlin, Director, SHAAP shaap.director@rcpe.ac.uk 0131 247 3667, 0131 247 3665 and 0750 508 1784.

Notes

  1. Based at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) provides the authoritative medical and clinical voice on the need to reduce the impact of alcohol related harm on the health and wellbeing of people in Scotland and the evidence-based approaches to achieve this.
  2. For comment and interview on Wednesday 15 November – please contact 0131 247 3665, 0131 247 3665 and 0750 508 1784 or shaap.director@rcpe.ac.uk