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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

Conclusion: From Colonial Medicines to Postcolonial Health


Exploring the logics and practices of pharmaceutical production, distribution, and consumption in colonial Vietnam, this book shows that therapeutic consumption practices of therapeutic pluralism and self-medication, which are now prevalent in this location, emerged in the early twentieth century, and became well established before the end of French rule. This does not mean that the (colonial) past can fully elucidate or explain the present, much less generate solutions. Nor can the Vietnamese history of colonial medicines serve as a template for understanding a global process of pharmaceuticalization that took off in the 1950s and 1960s with the diffusion of antibiotics. Pharmaceuticals entered Vietnam in a very particular context.