A prevention plan against depression and suicide in Portugal that is proposing an increase in the price of alcoholic beverages to prevent high levels of consumption has been slammed by industry traders.
Currently in the making, the Plano de Prevenção da Depressão e do Suicídio from the Ministry of Health sees it as a priority to increase the price of alcoholic beverages as well as establish minimum prices as it is believed high consumption levels are closely linked to cases of depression and suicide.
But the Association of Alcoholic Beverages and Wine Trades and Industry Businesses (ACIBEV) says increasing prices will put the “sustainability” of the sector at risk, as it provides employment to a large number of people, and won’t curb abusive consumption of alcohol.
A letter has already been sent to the ministries of health and agriculture stating that the proposal will “penalise essentially the vast majority of Portuguese consumers, who drink moderately and responsibly”.
“Alcohol abuse is a problem specific to a segment of the population and, as such, requires specific action, not a general measure,” said George Sandeman, president of ACIBEV.
“Measures need to be thought through and based on scientific reasoning,” he added, recalling failed examples of high taxes and restrictions imposed on alcohol trade in Nordic countries.
George Sandeman went as far as saying that the proposed measures are in breach of fundamental principles and objectives established by the European Union legislation.