In the early 2000s, with only 250 pharmacies to serve nearly 17 million inhabitants, Madagascar was facing an alarming pharmaceutical shortfall. A situation born of the absence of dedicated training since the country achieved independence in 1960, and which considerably slows access to, and proper use of, medicines. Authorities became concerned and, in 2005, decided to create a Pharmacy Department at the University of Antananarivo’s Faculty of Medicine.

Fondation Pierre Fabre was asked for help, as was Fondation Mérieux. With support from the University of Grenoble, the Foundation helped develop an educational curriculum over a six-year period. The first two years focus on basic science (chemistry and biology); the following three years on specialisation in pharmaceutical sciences; and the final year covers the broader pharmacy networks and hospital pharmacy work. The Foundation also funds the scientific and educational materials, as well as the assignments from the French visiting academics.

The Pharmacy Department’s main objective is to train drug professionals, primarily for the public sector. And, in 2010, the government opened several hospital pharmacist positions, which was a superb reason to welcome the young graduates of the first class in 2011. Of the 20 members of that class, two continued on to a doctorate level with the Foundation’s financial support.

Fondation Pierre Fabre is continuing its involvement to promote quality training with a view to helping improve the Madagascan public health indicators.

Université d'Antananarivo
Faculté de Médecine
BP 375


Given the shortage of pharmacists, Fondation Pierre Fabre has made tremendous investments in pharmaceutical education in Madagascar. This is the first time a dedicated department has been established at the Faculty of Medicine. Two classes have already graduated and two-thirds of those graduates have become pharmacists in public hospitals on the island. They have leading roles to play.”

Luc Samisson Vice-Dean in charge of pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Antananarivo

Achievements and future initiatives


  • 2 French visiting professors’ missions carried out in 2014

  • 1 scholarship to pursue a clinical pharmacology PhD in France in 2014 funded by the Foundation

  • 1 post-doctoral training in chemistry in France in 2014 supported by the Foundation

  • 97 students enrolled in pharmacy PACES (Première Année Commune aux Études de Santé) in 2014-2015

  • 6 years later, the 20 young graduates of the first class were offered hospital pharmacist positions

Future initiatives

In 2015, Fondation Pierre Fabre has continued to support the University of Antananarivo so as to reinforce the pharmacy department’s skills, making it autonomous by 2018.