The 23 US health care billionaires (and how they made their fortunes)

Forbes on Tuesday released its 2019 list of "The World's Billionaires," which includes 23 U.S. billionaires who made their fortunes in the health care industry.

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The magazine's 2019 rankings included 2,153 billionaires, 55 fewer than last year's list, and included 195 newcomers.

Overall rankings

Overall, the richest people in the world, according to Forbes, are:

  • Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and family, worth $131 billion;
  • Microsoft founder Bill Gates, worth $96.5 billion; and
  • Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet, worth $82.5 billion.

Billionaires in the health care industry

Forbes divided the billionaires on its list into several categories, including those whose fortunes were made primarily in the health care industry. Of those, 23 of them are from the United States.

The health care list did not include billionaires such as Bezos and Buffet, who made their fortunes in other industries but have also ventured into health care.

U.S. billionaires included in the health care category, in order of 2019 net worth, are:

  • No. 107, Thomas Frist Jr., co-founder of HCA, and family, who are worth $12.4 billion and are the richest people in health care worldwide;
  • No. 178, Carl Cook, CEO of medical device manufacturer Cook Group, who is worth $8.3 billion;
  • No. 209, Patrick Soon-Shiong—inventor of the cancer drug Abraxane and owner of NantWorks, a network of health startups—who is worth $7 billion;
  • No. 272 Reinhold Schmieding, founder of orthopedic surgical tools company Arthrex, who is worth $6 billion;
  • No. 298, Ronda Stryker, director of medical equipment company Stryker, who is worth $5.8 billion. According to Forbes, Stryker 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. 529, John Brown, who previously ran Stryker, who is worth $3.9 billion;
  • No. 617, Li Ge, chair of biologics supply company Wuxi Biologics and founder of Wuxi PharmTech, who is worth $3.5 billion;
  • No. 645, Jon Stryker, president and founder of the Arcus Foundation, which supports the advancement of LGBT rights and ape conservation, who is worth $3.4 billion;
  • No. 877, Randal Kirk, chief executive of biotetch conglomerate Intrexon, who is worth $2.6 billion;
  • No. 962, Pat Stryker, philanthropist and founder of music, arts, and civic engagement program Bohemian Foundation, who is worth $2.4 billion;
  • No. 1008, Stewart Rahr, who expanded pharmaceutical distributor Kinray and is worth $2.3 billion;
  • No. 1116, Osman Kibar, founder and CEO of biotech firm Samumed, who is worth $2.1 billion;
  • No. 1168, Phillip Frost, a health care investor, founder, and inventor, and leader of diagnostics-maker Opko Health, who is worth $2 billion;
  • No. 1227, Amy Wyss, who founded the LOR Foundation to improve quality of life for rural communities in the U.S., who is worth $1.9 billion;
  • Tied for No. 1281, Robert Duggan, who founded biotech firm Pharmacyclics and is worth $1.8 billion;
  • Tied for No. 1281, Leonard Schleifer, cofounder of drugmaker Regeneron, who is worth $1.8 billion;
  • No. 1349, Gary Michelson, a retired orthopedic and spinal surgeon with more than 340 patents for surgical instruments, who is worth $1.7 billion;
  • No. 1511, Forrest Preston, founder of Life Care Centers of America, who is worth $1.5 billion;
  • No. 1605, James Leininger, founder of medical devices company Kinetic Concepts, who is worth $1.4 billion;
  • Tied for No. 18, John Martin, former CEO of Gilead Sciences, who is worth $1.2 billion;
  • Tied for No. 1818, David Paul, founder and executive chair of spine implant manufacturer Globus Medical, who is worth $1.2 billion;
  • Tied for No. 1818, George Yancopoulos, chief scientific officer of biotech firm Regeneron, who is worth $1.2 billion; and
  • No. 1941, Alice Schwartz, founder of Bio-Rad Laboratories, which sells life science research and clinical diagnostic products, who is worth $1.1 billion (Forbes, 3/5).

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