STAFF REPORTER

THE regional Health ministry is to control the practice of “happy hour” and any other marketing activity that it sees as potentially damaging to public health.

Margalida Buades, a director at the ministry, said yesterday that draft statutes are being drawn up for a Balearic Public Health law which is yet to go before professional medical associations and social organisations for approval. The move is the start of the regional government's intention to create a Balearic Public Health Agency which will function independently, with its own budget and own powers to apply the law. The draft of the new law aims to provide a platform for education, research and innovation in the field of public health, most likely linked to institutions such as the Balearic University.

Wider aims of the future agency will include making as much verified information as possible available to the public in the shortest period of time. Material will relate to all matters of public health concern, not just alcohol-related issues.

Buades said that although the new statutes won't specifically ban the practice of “happy hour” in bars and discotheques in the Balearics, the government will have the right to restrict the degree to which it is promoted. She said that as well as wanting to control the unbridled consumption of alcohol, the ministry wanted to “keep an eye” on the drink mixes used for “happy hour” as they are often allegedly of inferior quality in an attempt to cheapen the product.

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