Leading thinkers converge to discuss the future of health care at the Healthy Returns conference in NYC

Key Points
  • The health-care industry accounts for about 18% of U.S. gross domestic product.
  • CEOs of major drug, biotech and health-care companies will meet to discuss trends and innovations at CNBC's Healthy Returns conference in New York City on Tuesday, May 21.
  • How genetics, AI and data analytics are transforming the business will be discussed by experts including Peter Lee of Microsoft Healthcare.
Scott Gottlieb, former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, speaking at the CNBC Healthy Returns Conference in New York on March 28th, 2018.
David A. Grogan | CNBC

Watching a Jim Cramer interview is a serious treat. The man not only does an unparalleled amount of research, but – when it comes to the topic of health care especially – he cares deeply about the subject matter. Not just the stocks (though he'll give you his deeply-researched analysis there too), but of its potential to change people's lives.

That's a major reason I'm so excited about this year's Healthy Returns, CNBC's annual conference focusing on the business of health care. CNBC's anchor of "Mad Money" is just one of an incredibly deep bench of CNBC anchors and reporters who we'll get to see do in-depth interviews with leaders across business, science and medicine.

Health care accounts for about 18% of U.S. GDP, and this year's event will pull back the curtain on important developments across the entire system.

Jim will sit down with Novartis CEO Dr. Vas Narasimhan on the eve of the expected launch of the pharma giant's gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy, a drug that could change the face of that devastating childhood disease, but whose price-tag, estimated at more than $2 million, could rock the health-care system.

David Faber, the M&A reporting legend, will dig into the deals landscape with Lazard's Peter Orszag, Andreessen Horowitz's Jorge Conde, and KKR's Ali Satvat, at a time when Wall Street is almost begging the biggest biotech and pharma companies to seek M&A for growth, and as recent deals have dramatically changed the way care gets delivered in America.

Melissa Lee, the host of CNBC's "Fast Money" and "Options Action", whose pre-med focus at Harvard becomes apparent every time she crosses paths with a biotech CEO, will interview United Therapeutics' Martine Rothblatt. The CEO will talk about her quest to reverse the fortunes of the more than 100,000 people waiting on the national organ transplant list by genetically engineering a new source.

CNBC TV reporter Bertha Coombs, who can dive into the weeds with the wonkiest of health policy experts and emerge with explanations we can all understand, will plumb both the landscape-altering Cigna/Express Scripts deal with those companies' CEOs, as well as the view on what's next with Harvard's global health initiative director Dr. Ashish Jha, Bright Health's co-founder and CEO Bob Sheehy and the always outspoken Andy Slavitt, general partner of Town Hall Ventures.

We'll hear the perspective of Jeff Borghoff, a software designer who volunteered to test the latest great hope in Alzheimer's treatment, from Biogen and Eisai, only to be told the clinical trial failed. He'll be interviewed by the incomparable Sharon Epperson, CNBC's personal finance correspondent, who inspired us all at last year's Healthy Returns when she shared her story of surviving a brain aneurysm.

CNBC.com's Chrissy Farr, a reporter who dominates coverage of the intersection of technology and health, will dig into the growing impact of big data, artificial intelligence and other new tools with Daphne Koller of insitro, Microsoft's Peter Lee, and Livongo's Dr. Jennifer Schneider. And Angelica Lavito, the face of our weekly Healthy Returns newsletter, will lead a discussion on the cost of health care.

We'll start the day talking with Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the influential just-departed FDA commissioner, and end it by digging into science, policy and more with the CEO of the world's largest health company, Johnson & Johnson's Alex Gorsky. In between we'll debate the vast potential — and ethical questions — of CRISPR gene-editing technology, get an update on a new approach to clinical trials from Alphabet's Verily, hear how a hospital system is taking on the drug industry, and more.

Leading us through the day will be "Power Lunch" co-anchor and vice president of Events Strategy for CNBC Tyler Mathisen, the best possible guide as Healthy Returns navigates the span of the entire health-care system.

I hope you can join us this year. Otherwise, follow along on CNBC.com and on Twitter.

From all of us at CNBC, wishing you many healthy returns.

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Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan, M.D.