I NOTE with interest the letter (April 1) from public health stakeholders calling on the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) to drop our legal challenge to minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol.

The SWA and its members are committed to tackling alcohol misuse through legal and effective measures, for example through our new Scotch Whisky Action Fund.

The problem is that, in our view, MUP would be ineffective. It does not target harmful and hazardous drinkers but does penalise the vast majority of responsible drinkers. Moreover, the evidence for it is based on assumptions in models, not the real world. Instead, we would like to see resources focused on policies targeting the 30% of the population who consume 80% of the alcohol, policies which are already proving effective.

We have always wanted a speedy resolution to this legal challenge. From the outset, the SWA has called for the legal case to be fast-tracked to the European Court of Justice, and it is the Scottish Government which refused to agree to this move.

It is a pity that the debate on alcohol policy has become so polarised around one measure. We would like to work to build a broader and better consensus, based around measures that really work and which we can all support.

David Frost,

Chief executive, Scotch Whisky Association, 20 Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh.