NHS Health Scotland
Outcome Indicators


bb. Evidence of introduction of minimum pricing based on strength

There is evidence for effectiveness of:

  1. Raising the price of alcohol to reduce alcohol consumption and other alcohol-related harms, particularly for younger people, binge drinkers and harmful drinkers

NICE Public Health Guidance 024 Recommendations:

  1. Consider introducing a minimum price per unit. Set the level by taking into account the health and social costs of alcohol related harm and its impact on alcohol consumption. Consider initiating a review of the excise duty regime with fellow EU member states. The aim would be to obtain a pan-EU agreement on harmonisation which links alcohol duty to the strength of each product.

  2. Regularly review the minimum price per unit to ensure alcohol does not become more affordable over time.

  3. Regularly review alcohol duties to make sure alcohol does not become more affordable over time.

Scottish policy note

The introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol was one of the core elements included in the alcohol policy framework; ‘Changing Scotland's Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action’ (2009). The framework detailed a commitment to:

  • Pursue the introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol as a mandatory condition of Premises Licences and Occasional Licences granted under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.
  • Work with economists and researchers to consider the modelling work around specific minimum prices per unit of alcohol.
  • Continue to discuss with the UK Government arrangements for controlling pricing and promotions of alcohol bought remotely and delivered to Scotland from England and Wales or beyond.

Minimum unit pricing was proposed as part of a range of measures in the Alcohol etc. (Scotland) Bill. However in November 2010 the Bill was passed in parliament without the inclusion of minimum unit pricing as it failed to gain enough parliamentary support at the third and final stage.



Ludbrook, A.  2004. Effective and cost-effective measures to reduce alcohol misuse in Scotland. An Update. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive.

Meier P., et al. 2008. Independent Review of the Effects of Alcohol Pricing and Promotion. Part A: Systematic Reviews. 2008. London: Department of Health.

Meier P., et al. 2009. Model-based appraisal of alcohol minimum pricing and off-trade discount bans in Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.

WHO. 2009. Evidence for the effectiveness and cost–effectiveness of interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm. World Health Organisation: Europe.

The University of Sheffield, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR). 2009. Final draft of Report 1 Macro Level Interventions for Alcohol Use Disorders: Effectiveness Review to the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence. National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence.

Babor, T., Caetano, R., Casswell, S., Edwards, G., Giesbrecht, N., Graham, K., et al.  2010. Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity. Research and Public Policy.2nd Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press

NICE PHG024. Alcohol-use disorders: preventing the development of hazardous and harmful drinking. National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence