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10 Richest People in Health Care


The aggregate net worth of the world's 10 richest people in health care is $63.5 billion. The majority of these people founded successful health care companies that they either still run or have since sold to companies like Merck or Johnson & Johnson.

While half of the top 10 richest people in the world are American citizens, the U.S. doesn’t have such a strong hold on the list of the 10 richest people in health care. The U.S. has three entries, followed by two each from India and Switzerland.

The first health care billionaire doesn’t appear until number 94 on Forbes’ list. And the aggregate net worth of the world’s 10 richest people in health care is less than the net worth of Bill Gates — the second richest person in the world.

With a total net worth of $63.5 billion, here are the 10 richest people in health care, according to Forbes’ list.

10. Barbara Piasecka Johnson

World rank: 376

Net worth: $3.6 billion

Age: 76

Source of wealth: Johnson & Johnson

Country: United States

Piasecka is the widow of Johnson & Johnson heir John Seward Johnson, who died in 1983 and left her the bulk of his fortune and 18 million shares of Johnson & Johnson. Piasecka has also made money off her art and antiques collection: she sold a Badminton Cabinet for $36.7 million in 2004 and a Rembrandt for $33 million in 2009. Although she is a citizen of the United States, she now lives in her native Poland.

9. Bernard Sherman

World rank: 363

Net worth: $3.7 billion

Age: 71

Source of wealth: Pharmaceuticals

Country: Canada

Sherman owns and runs the privately held Apotex, which is Canada’s largest generic drug maker. He is currently being sued by a cousin for partial stake in the company, although the lawsuit has yet to go to trial.

8. Cyrus Poonawalla

World rank: India

Net worth: $3.9 billion

Age: 71

Source of wealth: Biotech

Country: India

The Serum Institute of India, which Poonawalla founded and runs, is seeing rising sales of its five-in-one vaccine. The company producers a billion doses of vaccines a year and sells them in 140 countries at prices below competitors. Fellow billionaire Bill Gates has called Poonawalla one of the world’s seven vaccine heroes, according to Forbes.

7. Curt Engelhorn

World rank: 329

Net worth: $4 billion

Age: 86

Source of wealth: Pharmaceuticals

Country: Germany

Engelhorn headed Boehringer Manheim and DePuy for 36 years before selling both firms to Roche for $11 billion — he made $4.4 billion out of the deal.

6. Thomas Frist, Jr. and family

World rank: 262

Net worth: $4.8 billion

Age: 74

Source of wealth: Health care

Country: United States

Frist is the largest shareholder of HCA Holdings, which he started in 1968 with his father. The company went public (for the third time) in 2011. The family is operating another company to work with the Chinese government to build a hospital100 miles south of Shanghai.

5. Stefano Pessina

World rank: 189

Net worth: $6.4 billion

Age: 71

Source of wealth: Drugstores

Country: Italy

When Walgreen’s bought a chunk of Alliance Boots in 2012, Pessina’s net worth more than doubled when he took payment in Walgreen’s equity. Pessina now owns 8% of Walgreen stock and 18% of Alliance Boots. In addition to being Alliance Boots’ executive chairman, Pessina now sits on Walgreen’s Board.

4. Patrick Soon-Shiong

World rank: 145

Net worth: $8 billion

Age: 61

Source of wealth: Pharmaceuticals

Country: United States

This surgeon built and sold American Pharmaceutical Partners and its spinoff company, Abraxis. APP went to Fresenius for $5.6 billion and Abraxis went to Celgene for $2.9 billion. In 2011, Soon-Shiong also founded Nantworks, which is working on new cancer therapies and an app for doctors.

3. Hansjoerg Wyss

World rank: 123

Net worth: $8.7 billion

Age: 78

Source of wealth: Medical devices

Country: Switzerland

In June 2012, Wyss sold Synthes to Johnson & Johnson for $20.2 billion in cash and stock. He now spends time on philanthropic pursuits. The Wyss Foundation and the HJW Foundation, organizations that work on a number of projects such as environmental issues, social issues in immigration reform, health care for all Americans, women’s health and reproductive rights, etc.

2. Dilip Shanghvi

World rank: 116

Net worth: $9.4 billion

Age: 57

Source of wealth: Pharmaceuticals

Country: India

Shares of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, which Shanghvi founded in 1982, hit a record high in October 2012. Shares were up 40% in 12 months. The American arm of the company acquired DUSA Pharmaceuticals and made a deal to acquire Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ U.S. generic drug business.

1. Ernesto Bertarelli & family

World rank: 94

Net worth: $11 billion

Age: 47

Source of wealth: Biotech, investments

Country: Switzerland

Bertarelli inherited the biotech firm Serono in 1998 and sold it to Merck in 2007. He, his sister and his mother took home $9 billion from that sale. The family’s Waypoint Group has been buying property in London and expanding life sciences investments. Along with fellow billionaire Wyss, Bertarelli is looking to launch a biotech campus in Geneva.

Read more:

The World's Billionaires - Forbes

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