This article presents the results of an investigation into the formation of patterns of recourse to pharmaceuticals in Vietnam during the first half of the twentieth century. By examining Vietnamese responses to the introduction of pharmaceuticals, this article contributes to a historicization of the "pharmaceutical invasion" of the South. It analyzes recourse to pharmaceuticals by situating therapeutic choices within the broader sociocultural, economic, and political dynamics underlying the accessibility of healthcare. As a result, this article exposes the limits of colonial medicalization while also revealing the agency of the Vietnamese people in critically assessing and selectively pursuing available therapeutic options.

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