Public health indicators in Vietnam, having become more open and established itself as a dynamic emerging country since the 1980s, are showing consistent improvement. With a fledgling but growing pharmaceutical industry and already providing platforms for high-level training, the country seemed to be a good base for Fondation Pierre Fabre when it decided to create a transregional Master’s in Pharmaceutical Sciences programme in the 2010s.
Pursuing the work already done in Phnom Penh and Vientiane to upgrade their universities of pharmacy, this post-graduate programme known as Master Mekong Pharma is meant to increase the number of drug experts in Southeast Asia. It is mainly designed for qualified pharmacists in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and allows them to earn a French Master’s 2 degree.
The project was an exciting one, but complex to develop, particularly since the French diploma was being transferred to Southeast Asia. After designing the overall plan, Fondation Pierre Fabre had to convince the region’s three universities, as well as three other French universities, to assign volunteer teachers to the cause. The Foundation has also been involved in financing the Master and day-to-day coordination in the field. It will provide support until 2016.
In 2012, the first class was recruited. The students underwent general education in the first year before specialising, in their second year, in drug quality control (in Hanoi), pharmacokinetic (in Phnom Penh), or correct use of medicines and pharmacovigilance (in Vientiane). This class graduated in October 2014.
The Master Mekong Pharma is meant to serve as a springboard for healthcare South East Asia. The opportunities presented to future graduates will be the proof of its success: they should be able to increase the quality of local higher education, improve the hospital care sector, contribute to the work of public structures, such as drug agencies, but also support the private sector that has great needs in Southeast Asia.
The current version of the French studies model was not applicable. The Master Mekong Pharma had to be tailored to the circumstances. First, with regard to access – the first year gives students the knowledge base needed to enter level M2 at French universities. Then, with regard to the programme – the curriculum was modified to integrate certain specificities, such as local regulatory issues."
Achievements and future initiatives
30 first-year students graduated
31 students in training in 2014 (2nd and 3rd classes)
34 teaching assignments
1,352 hours of courses taught in 2014
80 % of the funding provided by Fondation Pierre Fabre
66 % of students chose a public-sector internship to conclude their training
In 2015, Fondation Pierre Fabre has supported continuation of the programme with the recruitment of a fourth class in October. Furthermore, the option of opening the training to students from neighbouring countries (China, Burma, Thailand, etc.) is under consideration, as well as introducing a new speciality, pharmaceutical technology, in 2016.
- Agence universitaire de la francophonie – AUF (funding for teaching assignments and scholarships)
- Coopération française (funding of French classes)
- Phnom Penh faculty of pharmacy, (consulting, teaching on pharmacokinetics)
- Vientiane faculty of pharmacy (consulting, teaching on proper drug use and pharmacovigilance)
- Hanoi University of Pharmacy (consulting, teaching on medicine quality control)
- Faculté de Pharmacie - Aix-Marseille Université (consulting, teaching on pharmacokinetics)
- Faculté des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques - Université Paris Descartes (consulting, teaching on medicine quality control)
- Faculté des Sciences Pharmaceutiques - Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III (consulting, teaching on proper drug use and pharmacovigilance)
Programme in Laos
Rehabilitation of the Vientiane Faculty of Pharmacy
In 2005, the Vientiane Faculty of Pharmacy became a partner of the Foundation in a comprehensive rehabilitation programme.
Programme in Cambodia
Upgrading of the Faculty of Phnom Penh
In 2001, in this country recovering from civil war and dictatorship, Fondation Pierre Fabre began working on renovating the Faculty of Pharmacy of Phnom Penh.
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Vietnam - The third graduating class of the Master Mekong Pharma
On 15 November, the 15 students of the Master Mekong Pharma Class of 2016 received their degrees during a ceremony held at the Hanoi University of Pharmacy, an event attended by representatives of partner universities, the Fondation Pierre Fabre, Vietnam’s French Embassy and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF).
The Master Mekong Pharma, established in 2012 through a Fondation Pierre Fabre initiative, trains the drug specialists that are critical to public health in Southeast Asia.