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HEARD ON THE BEAT / HEALTH CARE

Drug Makers Target Buyers by Ethnicity

September 18, 1997|BARBARA MARSH | Barbara Marsh covers health care for The Times

Drug makers selling to hospitals, medical groups and other health care providers want to know more than ever about the individuals making buying decisions--even their ethnicity.

Irvine-based SK&A Information Services Inc., which leases computerized lists of health care decision-makers, recently began offering information on ethnicity. Carl Jeremias, the company's vice president of sales and marketing, says SK&A can provide, for instance, names of all pharmacists in a given area who are Japanese or all the nurses who are Filipino.

Why do drug makers want to know this stuff? "I can't answer that," Jeremias said. "The request came from several pharmacy companies and ad agencies who advertise for the health care industry. We don't ask why they want to use the list."

For basic information--an individual's name, title and workplace address--SK&A charges $90 for every 1,000 individuals. It charges an additional $15 per 1,000 to target members of a specified ethnic group.

Jeremias estimates that 30% to 40% of the data SK&A supplies on ethnicity could be inaccurate. The company uses surnames to target individuals by ethnic group, and its listings do not account for married people who have changed their names.

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Barbara Marsh covers health care for The Times. She Can be reached at (714) 966-7762 and at barbara.marsh@latimes.com

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