The 21 US health care billionaires, according to Forbes

Forbes on Tuesday released its 2018 World Billionaires rankings—and 21 of the billionaires categorized as having made their fortune in the health care industry are from the United States.

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Forbes' latest rankings identified 2,208 billionaires—including 259 "newcomers"—from 72 countries and territories.

Overall rankings

Overall, the richest people according to Forbes are:

  • Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, worth $112 billion;
  • Microsoft founder Bill Gates, worth $90 billion; and
  • Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet, worth $84 billion.

Billionaires in the health care industry

Forbes divided its list into several categories, including a sub-list of billionaires whose fortunes are based in the health care industry—and 21 of them are from the United States. (The sub-list did not include every billionaire who has ventured into health care, such as Bezos or Buffett.)

U.S. billionaires included in the health care category, in order of 2018 net worth, are:

  • No. 158, Thomas Frist Jr., co-founder of HCA, who is worth $9.6 billion;
  • No. 190, Carl Cook, CEO of medical device manufacturer Cook Group, who is worth $8 billion;
  • No. 198, Patrick Soon-Shiong, owner of NantWorks, a network of health startups who also has stakes in the newspaper company Tronc and the Los Angeles Lakers, who is worth $7.8 billion;
  • No. 382, Ronda Stryker, director of medical equipment company Stryker, who is worth $5.1 billion (According to Forbes, Stryker Corp was founded by Homer Stryker, the grandfather of Ronda and two other Stryker siblings—Pat and Jon—who are also included in the health care category);
  • No. 404, Reinhold Schmieding, founder of Arthrex, an orthopedic surgical tools company, who is worth $4.9 billion;
  • No. 703, a tie between John Brown, who previously ran Striker and is worth $3.3 billion, and Pat Stryker, a philanthropist and founder of Bohemian Foundation, a music, arts, and civic engagement program, who is also worth $3.3 billion;
  • No. 822, a tie between Randal Kirk, CEO of Intrexon, a biotech conglomerate, who is worth $2.9 billion, and Jon Stryker, president and founder of the Arcus Foundation, which advocates for LGBT human rights and the conservation of great apes, who is also worth $2.9 billion;
  • No. 859, a tie between Kieu Hoang, vice chair of Shanghai RAAS Blood Products, who is worth $2.8 billion, and Osman Kibar, founder and CEO of biotech firm Samumed, who is also worth $2.8 billion;
  • No. 924, Phillip Frost, a health care investor who runs diagnostics-maker Opko Health, who is worth $2.6 billion;
  • No. 1,103, Stewart Rahr, who sold pharmaceutical distributor Kinray to Cardinal Health, who is worth $2.2 billion;
  • No. 1,215, Robert Duggan, an entrepreneur who sold his biotech firm Pharmacyclics to AbbVie, who is worth $2 billion;
  • No. 1,215, Amy Wyss—who worked for several years at Synthes, a company her father founded that was acquired by Johnson & Johnson—who is worth $2 billion;
  • No. 1,339, John Kapoor, founder and former CEO of opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics, who is worth $1.8 billion;
  • No. 1,394, Gary Michelson, a retired orthopedic and spinal surgeon who holds over 340 patents for surgery instruments and is worth $1.7 billion;
  • No. 1,650, James Leininger, founder medical devices company Kinetic Concepts, who is worth $1.4 billion;
  • No. 1,650, Forrest Preston, founder of Life Care Centers of America, who is worth $1.4 billion;
  • No. 1,756, Leonard Schleifer, CEO and founder of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, who is worth $1.3 billion; and
  • No. 1,999, John Martin, chair and former CEO of Gilead Sciences, who is worth $1.1 billion.

Trends among health care billionaires

Worldwide, Forbes identified 134 health care industry billionaires across 23 countries. Dilip Shanghvi, of India, is the richest person in health care, worth $12.8 billion. Shanghvi's Sun Pharma is the fourth largest generics maker in the world.

Overall, according to Forbes, the United States has the second most health care billionaires, after China, which has 36. However, U.S. health care billionaires on average have a higher net worth, at $3.3 billion. In China, the average is $2.2 billion.

According to Forbes, 70% of health care billionaires are entrepreneurs. Forbes said 13% of health care billionaires inherited their wealth, while 17% inherited their fortune but worked to expand it (Forbes, "The World's Billionaires," accessed 3/7; Tindera, Forbes, 3/7).

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