MedTech Featured Stories
Four Ways to Make Medicine More Like Facebook
This morning, as Facebook begins trading, it will have a market capitalization of more than $100 billion, making it more valuable than any company in health care. The stock market values Facebook as being worth nearly as much as Merck (annual sales: $48 billion) more than Sanofi (annual sales: $42 billion) and twice as much as Gilead, the leading maker of HIV medicines, or Medtronic, the medical device giant.
Seven big Facebook holders, including Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, and Sean Parker, hold shares totaling $25 billion, according to my Forbes colleague Ryan Mac. Nine billionaires count substantial portions of their fortunes as coming from Facebook.
By comparison, all the 12 health care billionaires on last year’s issue of the Forbes 400 Richest People in America had a combined net worth of $28 billion. Even when we include the rising fortunes of health care IT moguls such as Neal Patterson of Cerner and Judy Faulkner of Epic Systems, we’re still looking at health care innovation generating less wealth for individuals than a single company that we use to gossip, keep in touch, and share photos. There’s not really much doubt: if you want to reach the upper echelons of wealth, creating a social networking site is a better bet than inventing a drug.
Think about it for a second: a single tech company, launched in 2004, is worth more than most makers of medicine. More than that, this single company has done as much to create very rich people as, basically, the entire medical device and drug industry.
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