Forbes recently released its 2021 list of the 400 wealthiest people in America, which includes 14 U.S. billionaires who made their fortunes in the health care industry.
For the 40th annual "Forbes 400" list, the magazine reached out to more than 750 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. Analysts also met with the candidates in person, by phone, or virtually. In addition, Forbes interviewed the candidates' "employees, handlers, rivals, peers, and attorneys," Forbes' Jennifer 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.
Notably, U.S. billionaires are richer than ever before—and the cutoff to make the list increased more than it ever has. According to Forbes, individuals needed to have at least $2.9 billion in wealth to make the list, up $800 million from last year's $2.1 billion cutoff.
Overall, the richest people in America, according to Forbes, are:
- Amazon founder and executive chairman Jeff Bezos, with $201 billion
- SpaceX founder, CEO, and chief engineer Elon Musk, with $190.5 billion
- Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, with $134.5 billion
This year marks the fourth 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 2021 net worth, are:
- No. 35, Thomas Frist Jr., former Air Force flight surgeon and co-founder of HCA, and family, with $20.8 billion
- No. 59, Li Ge, cofounder and chair of WuXi AppTec, a global R&D and manufacturing company that supports the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries, with $11.6 billion
- No. 66 (tie), Carl Cook, CEO of the medical device manufacturer Cook Group, with $10.8 billion
- No. 89, Patrick Soon-Shiong, inventor of the cancer drug Abraxane and founder of NantWorks, a network of health start-ups, with $8.9 billion
- No. 115, Reinhold Schmieding, founder of the orthopedic surgical tools company Arthrex, with $7.8 billion
- No. 117, Ronda Stryker, director of the medical equipment company Stryker Corporation, with $7.5 billion (according to Forbes, Stryker was founded by Homer Stryker, the grandfather of Ronda, Pat, and Jon Stryker, who are all included in the health care category of the list)
- No. 176 (tie), John Brown, who ran Stryker Corp., for 32 years before retiring as chair in 2009, with $5.9 billion
- No. 176 (tie), Timothy Springer, an immunologist and professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Harvard Medical School, with $5.9 billion
- No. 212 (tie), Noubar Afeyan, founder and CEO of life sciences innovation firm Flagship Pioneering, with $5 billion
- No. 222 (tie), Robert Langer, a scientist and professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology—where he leads the Langer Lab, with $4.9 billion;
- No. 240 (tie), Jon Stryker, president and founder of the Arcus Foundation, which supports the advancement of LGBT rights and ape conservation, with $4.6 billion (grandson of Homer Stryker)
- No. 300 (tie), Hao Hong, chair of Asymchem Laboratories, which provides pharmaceutical outsourcing services, with $3.8 billion
- No. 340 (tie), Pat Stryker, founder of the Bohemian Foundation, which supports music, community, global, and civic programs, with $3.4 billion
- No. 363 (tie), Alice Schwartz, co-founder of Bio-Rad Laboratories, with $3.2 billion (Forbes 400 list, accessed 10/6; Wang, Forbes, 10/5)