In the Land of Business, Health Care Is Everywhere

June 7, 2017, 1:30 PM UTC

Good morning, Dailies. Today we release the 63rd iteration of the famed Fortune 500—our annual roster of America’s biggest companies. (Go ahead: Click away and make our Web servers do an honest day’s work.)

No. 1 on the list is…(right here, at your fingertips). Okay, I know—You’re above such ruses. So I’ll let it be.

I will say this, however: Whomever the No. 1, 2, and 3 companies on the Fortune 500 might be, seeing the 2017 cast ensemble—in all their naked $12 trillion-in-revenue glory—it’s hard not to notice one thing: There’s a whole lot of health-related selling going on.

Insurer United Health Group, CVS Health, and McKesson, the enormous wholesaler/distributor of medicines, are each in the top 10. (Fortune’s Erika Fry has written a knock-your-socks-off feature on McKesson in the issue, so you may want to run out to your local newsstand and pick up a mag.)

CVS Health, the smallest of that trio with $178 billion in revenue last year, still racked up more dollars at the register than General Motors did. And as much as CVS hawks Altoids and two-for-one Lindt truffles at the checkout, the lion’s share of its revenues (as much as $96 billion in 2016, according to the Drug Channels Institute) comes from its retail chain and specialty (mail-order) pharmacies.

Then there are companies like General Electric, which we don’t categorize as health companies, but kinda sorta are. GE’s medical systems business (diagnostic imaging and more) is that conglomerate’s second-largest segment—and were it a standalone firm, its more than $18 billion in 2016 sales would land it on the Fortune 500. The same goes for our No. 1 entry, which does a fair amount of script-filling ($21 billion worth, in fact).

The industry of health is everywhere in the 500, from Alphabet’s Verily to IBM’s Watson. Which, on the whole, is a good thing, I think. Because some of these companies may actually figure out how to make healthcare work.

Want a bonus essay this morning? Here’s a link to my Editor’s letter for the Fortune 500.)

This essay appears in today’s edition of the Fortune Brainstorm Health Daily. Get it delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.

Read More

COVID VaccinesReturn to WorkMental Health