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ARE ANY DOCTORS BILLIONAIRES?

While few people dream being billionaires, fewer yet attain this elusive distinction. Those who do are often accidental beneficiaries of lady luck, being in the right place at the right time with the right product. Yet in this exclusive club a few doctors are to be found.

At time of writing, I am aware of four such Masters of the Universe. While doctors in name, it might well as be a misnomer, because a day in the life one of these fantastic four has about as much in common with the life of a regular practicing physician as a luxury yacht resembles a fishing boat. Each of these billionaire doctors owes their opulence to jumping careers from practicing medicine to providing medical value to markets. Here are their brief bios in order of increasing wealth:

Dr. G. Michelson ($1.4 billion) - you might refer to him as the “Spine Whisperer” as he holds in excess of 250 U.S. patents on devices and interventions related to disorders of the spine. In 2005 he won a court settlement for $1.5 billion from the medical tech behemoth, Medtronic, for copyright infringement.

Dr. P. Frost ($2.4 billion) - you could consider him a legitimate “Drug Lord” of the nice kind. After building a pharmaceutical company based on his patents, it was later sold for $950 million, proceeds of which he astutely used to acquire other companies he consolidated into Ivax Pharmaceuticals, later sold to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries for $8.6 billion.

 

Dr. T. Frist ($4 billion) - you might call him a “Hospital Magnate” (or magnet) as he co-founded the Hospital Corporation of America which owns 165 hospitals and 115 surgical centres boasting annual revenue of around $34 billion. He is the groups majority shareholder.

 

Dr. P. Soon-Shiong ($8 billion) - you might call him the “Cancer Czar” after he invented the cancer drug Paclitaxel and funded its development himself through loans to launch American Pharmaceutical Partners. He has acquired several companies since, that he hopes to be able to coordinate into a service that analyzes the genome of patients stricken with cancer within 24 hours and provide oncologists with treatment options in the same time frame.