Diagnosis Filthy Stinking Rich: Health Care Leaders on Forbes 400

September 23, 2010
Sean Johnson

Forbes came out with their annual "Richest People in America" feature yesterday, and the health care industry has some heavyweights checking in.

Forbes came out with their annual “Richest People in America” feature yesterday, and the health care industry has some heavyweights checking in. Here are some of the people that health care has made the richest:

46) Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD; $5.6 billion

With a calculated worth of $5.6 billion, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is the first Forbes 400 to claim his fortune from the healthcare industry. More specifically, Soon-Shiong has made his money from drugs; his shares of Abraxis Bioscience nearly doubled in the last year, in large part because of its sale to Celgene for nearly $3 billion, adding a cool $1.6 billion to his fortune. Soon-Shiong has already pledged half of that windfall to the Gates/Buffett initiative, which funds programs that combat disease and poverty.

85) Thomas Frist, MD; $3.6 billion

HCA Healthcare is a hospital giant that aims to go public for the third time, meaning that the value of the 160-hospital chain should be around $40 billion. Frist is a former Air Force flight surgeon who started HCA in 1968 with his father; now, he and his sons run the company.

101) William Cook; $3.1 billion

Founder of the medical device company Cook Group Incorporated, William Cook has made a fortune from two very important and ubiquitous devices: stents and catheters. Forbes mentions that the “bright spot” for Cook this year was a new catheter for intensive care units that is juiced with antibiotics to prevent infections. We’ll see if it’s successful enough for Cook to crack the top 100 next year.

124) Barbara Piasecka Johnson; $2.8 billion

Johnson’s fortune is the result of an inheritance from her husband John Seward Johnson, who inherited a little company of his own called Johnson & Johnson (maybe you’ve heard of it?). The inherited shares of the company are valued at over $4 billion. Part of Barbara Piasecka Johnson’s fortune is tied up in developing Children’s Bay Cay, a private residential complex in the Bahamas, but she also uses her vast wealth to support Art for Autism, and has received several awards for her humanitarian and education projects worldwide.

170) Ronda Stryker; $2.1 billion

Stryker’s wealth is due to the inheritance from her father’s medical device company, which made its name on mobile hospital beds. She is the last remaining Stryker on the company’s board of directors. Stryker has also been known to donate and to and fund numerous educational initiatives and programs, which is no surprise considering there she is a former special education teacher. Ronda is the highest on the Forbes 400 list to claim her fortune from the Stryker Corporation, but she isn’t the only one: her sister Pat comes in at 308 ($1.3 billion); her brother Jon comes in at 332 ($1.2 billion); and Stryker Corporation CEO John Brown makes the list at 385 ($1 billion).

182) Philip Frost; $2 billion

A self-made billionaire, Frost is a former dermatologist who sold his drug manufacturer company Ivax to Teva Pharmaceuticals for a cool $7.6 billion in 2005. He still holds a large portion of stock in Teva and has his hand in several medical startups. Frost and his wife are huge endorsers of the arts and donate millions of dollars to art programs each year.

205) Michael Jaharis; $1.9 billion

Former partner of fellow billionaire Philip Frost, Jaharis also made his money in the pharmaceutical business after launching Kos Pharmaceuticals in 1988 and then creating cholesterol-battling drug Niaspan, which he sold to Abbott Labs in 2006 for $4.2 billion. Jaharis is a big supporter of Columbia U. Medical Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Tufts University’s School of Medicine.

Click here to check out the rest of the list.