As Bill Gates is once again named as the world's richest man, a number of healthcare experts have joined him on Forbes magazine's annual billionaires list.

The co-founder of Microsoft, has a net worth of $76 billion, despite donating billions to global health initiatives, notably through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has taken the top spot from Mexican telecomms mogul Carlos Slim ($72 billion) on the list which contains a record 1,645 billionaires with a total net worth of $6.4 trillion.

A Forbes spokesperson told PharmaTimes that 79 healthcare/medical billionaires are on the list, notably Dilip Shanghvi of India's Sun Pharmaceutical Industries. He is 82nd on the list with a fortune worth $12.8 billion, followed at 92 by Ernesto Berteralli and family, who sold Serono to Merck KGaA in 2007, and is worth $12 billion.

Others on the list include the Frenchmen Jacques Servier ($7.6 billion) at 173 and Alain Merieux ($3.8 billion) at 396 on the list. Phillip Frost at 483, founded generic drugmaker Ivax and sold it to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries for $7.6 billion in 2005, and is worth $3.3 billion.

Maja Oeri, a descendant of Fritz Hoffman La-Roche, founder of the Swiss drugs giant, comes in at 731 ($2.4 billion). Cadila Healthcare chief Pankaj Patel is also worth $2.4 billion.