Today is the first anniversary of the implementation of minimum unit pricing of alcohol in Scotland. Scotland was the first country in the world to implement a minimum unit price for alcohol, following a ten year campaign by health bodies including the British Liver Trust. The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 states that all alcohol sold through licensed premises in Scotland cannot be sold below a set minimum unit price (MUP). The MUP depends on the amount of alcohol contained in the product and is currently set at 50p per unit of alcohol.
NHS Scotland has developed a robust evaluation plan. The focus of the evaluation is looking at the extent implementing MUP in Scotland has contributed to reducing alcohol-related health and social harms and its effect on people and businesses. The evaluation plan for MUP contains a portfolio of studies which are either
- undertaken by NHS Health Scotland
- commissioned by NHS Health Scotland to external research bodies through open procurement processes
- separately funded and led by academic partners.
The data that has been published so far is limited and does not tell us whether alcohol harm - such as deaths, hospitalisations and crime - is going up or down.
The first round of units data – for January to December 2018 – will be published in the NHS Health Scotland MESAS (Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy) Annual Report, due in June 2019.
Alcohol Focus Scotland have published a mythbuster: click here to download