The European Court of Justice's advocate general has said the Scottish Government's plans to introduce minimum alcohol prices might be against the law.
According to Yves Bot, the proposal would go against the European Union's rules on free trade, unless the Scottish Government can demonstrate that no other measure could have a comparable impact on public health.
While the Scottish Parliament has approved the idea of implementing a minimum unit price of 50p per unit, it has been the subject of a legal challenge by the Scottish Whisky Association (SWA).
David Frost, chief executive of the body, has therefore welcomed the advocate general's comments, saying her opinion "encourages us in our long-held view that MUP is illegal when there are less trade restrictive measures available".
Mr Frost pointed out there is a "long-term trend of falling alcohol-related deaths and harms in Scotland", which he believes shows the existing measures to tackle alcohol misuse are working.
He added that the SWA awaits the European Court of Justice's final ruling and will keep working closely with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders on addressing alcohol misuse.
Nevertheless, some are still promoting the case in favour of raising the price of alcohol in Scotland.
For instance, Professor Linda Bauld of Stirling University's Institute for Social Marketing this week said there is "strong and clear evidence" that the measure could have a positive impact on public health.
Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, she said it is "really unfortunate" that the legal challenge has delayed the policy's implementation, as it could save lives and tackle other harmful effects of alcohol.
Robert Botkai, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood Solicitors, commented: "We will keep an eye on this as minimum pricing would impact our clients and England and Wales could well follow Scotland’s lead.”