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.

Hanoi University of Pharmacy
13-15 Le Thanh Tong, Hoan Kiem
Master Internet website


Call for applications for year 2016/2017

Find here the Master Mekong Pharma 2016 leaflet.

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."

Dr Hanh Dufat Laboratory for Pharmacognosis-UMR/CNRS 8638, Faculty of pharmaceutical and biological sciences, University of Paris Descartes

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

Future initiatives

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.