Forbes recently released its 2020 list of the 400 wealthiest people in America, which includes 14 U.S. billionaires who made their fortunes in the health care industry.
The 23 US health care billionaires (and how they made their fortunes)
How Forbes determined the list
For the 39th annual "Forbes 400" list, the magazine reached out to more than 700 individuals whom Forbes considered to be candidates. Analysts with Forbes reviewed financial documents, court records, assets, debt, and other factors to determine the candidates' wealth. According to Forbes' Jennifer Wang, analysts also met with the candidates in person, by phone, or virtually. In addition, Forbes interviewed the candidates' "employees, handlers, rivals, peers, and attorneys," Wang reports.
Ultimately, Forbes "took into account all types of assets: stakes in public and private companies, real estate, art, yachts, planes, ranches, vineyards, jewelry, car collections, and more," and "factored in debt and charitable giving" to determine the list, Wang writes. According to Forbes, individuals must have at least $2.1 billion in wealth to make the list. Forbes notes that 10 people who were on last year's "Forbes 400" list fell off this year's list as their fortunes declined "directly" because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Overall, the richest people in America, according to Forbes, are:
- Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and family, worth $179 billion;
- Microsoft founder Bill Gates, worth $111 billion; and
- Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, worth $85 billion.
This year marks the third consecutive year that Bezos has topped the "Forbes 400" list, Forbes notes.
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. The health care list did not include billionaires such as Bezos, who made their fortunes in other industries but have also ventured into health care.
The U.S. billionaires included in Forbes' health care category, in order of 2020 net worth, are:
- No. 42, Thomas Frist Jr., co-founder of HCA, and family, who are worth $11.6 billion;
- No. 45, Carl Cook, CEO of the medical device manufacturer Cook Group, who is worth $10.5 billion;
- Tied for No. 91, Reinhold Schmieding, founder of the orthopedic surgical tools company Arthrex, who is worth $6.7 billion;
- Tied for No. 91, Patrick Soon-Shiong—inventor of the cancer drug Abraxane and owner of NantWorks, a network of health startups—who is worth $6.7 billion;
- No. 110, Ronda Stryker, director of the medical equipment company Stryker, who is worth $5.6 billion. According to Forbes, Stryker was founded by Homer Stryker, the grandfather of Ronda, Pat, and Jon Stryker, who are also included in the health care category of the list;
- No. 170, John Brown, who previously ran Stryker and is now worth $4.3 billion;
- No. 222, Jon Stryker, president and founder of the Arcus Foundation, which supports the advancement of LGBT rights and ape conservation, who is worth $3.6 billion and is the grandson of Homer Stryker;
- No. 278, Osman Kibar, founder and CEO of the biotech firm Samumed, who is worth $3 billion;
- Tied for No. 339, Phillip Frost—a health care investor, founder, and inventor, and leader of diagnostics-maker Opko Health—who is worth $2.5 billion;
- Tied for No. 339, Leonard Schleifer, cofounder and CEO of drugmaker Regeneron, who is worth $2.5 billion;
- Tied for No. 339, Pat Stryker—a philanthropist and founder of the music, arts, and civic engagement program Bohemian Foundation—who is worth $2.5 billion and is the granddaughter of Homer Stryker;
- No. 359, Stewart Rahr, who expanded the pharmaceutical distributor Kinray, which his father founded in 1944, and is worth $2.3 billion;
- Tied for No. 378, Robert Duggan, an entrepreneur who sold his biotech firm Pharmacyclics to AbbVie in 2015 and is now worth $2.2 billion; and
- Tied for No. 378, Alice Schwartz, cofounder of Bio-Rad Laboratories, which sells life science research and clinical diagnostic products. Schwartz is worth $2.2 billion (Forbes 400 list, accessed 9/29; Wang, Forbes, 9/8; D'Ambrosio, MedPage Today, 9/24).