According to UK experts writing in this week's PLOS Medicine, the alcohol industry, including the major supermarkets ignored, misrepresented and undermined international evidence on effective alcohol control policies in an attempt to influence public health policy in Scotland to its advantage.
The experts, led by Jim McCambridge from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, analysed the alcohol industry's input into the Scottish Government's 2008 Consultation on "Changing Scotland's relationship with alcohol" policy proposals which included measures to introduce minimum unit pricing and ban promotions.
They found that industry submissions advocated for policies in line with their commercial interests and consistently opposed evidence-based approaches. Industry actors also made unsubstantiated claims about the adverse effects of policy proposals they didn't like and advocated for policies with weak evidence to support effectiveness.
They conclude: "For policy makers, key questions concern how the pursuit of commercial interests may conflict with broader public interests and lead to the marginalisation of scientific evidence in decision-making."