A first in Canada: The CGPA introduces a public affairs campaign based solely
on social media

MONTREAL, April 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA) is using social media to launch its video contest: "If you were the government, what would you do with $160 million?", which carries prizes of $10,000, $7,000 and $3,000 in cash for the three videos earning the highest number of votes on the http://quoifaireavec160M.org/en/ website.

This is quite likely the first public affairs campaign in Quebec, if not Canada, to harness solely the power of social networks. Web users throughout Quebec will be informed of the impact of the "15-year rule" on the public purse and will be invited to express their thoughts on this issue.

"The Quebec Treasury Board admits that the '15-year rule' will cost the government in excess of $160 million in 2010. This amount could certainly be put to better use. We want to show the government that we are not alone in understanding the stakes and that it must take action," states Jim Keon, President of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA).

How to enter the contest

To participate in the contest, a short video lasting no more than 120 seconds and answering the question: "If you were the government, what would you do with $160 million?" must be produced. The subject of the video and the answer are entirely up to the participants. The winners will be determined based on the number of votes recorded on the website at http://quoifaireavec160M.org/en/. Rules and regulations are available on the contest website.

The 15-year rule

Unique to Quebec, the 15-year rule adds to the twenty-year protection already granted to "brand" pharmaceutical firms by the federal patent. By protecting, in this manner, brand-name drugs from healthy competition from generic drugs, the government favours more expensive drugs, for the benefit of major international pharmaceutical firms based in Switzerland, the United States and elsewhere in the world, despite the fact that these firms are cutting back on their research and development spending and, by the same token, their number of employees in Quebec.

Because of this rule, the prescription drug plan reimburses the price of the brand-name drug even after the expiration of patent protection and the marketing of less expensive generic equivalents. The result: Quebecers pay more than other Canadians.

In actual fact, the 15-year rule extends the protection granted by a drug's patent by an average of three years. Implemented in 1994, the 15-year rule has become increasingly less profitable for the government of Quebec over the years. Indeed, in 2010 alone, the government is depriving itself of some $160 million (hence the name of the contest).

About the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association

The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association represents the Canadian generic drug industry, a group of dynamic companies specializing in the production of affordable, high-quality generic drugs and fine chemicals as well as the clinical testing required for securing government approval of these generics. This industry plays an important role in controlling health costs in Canada.

SOURCE Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association

For further information: For further information: On the contest: Marc Snyder, (514) 286-6061, (514) 244-5228; On the 15-year rule: Daniel Charron, (514) 286-6061, (514) 586-1233; Source: Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA)

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