A major anti-vaccination group that presents itself as a grassroots “information center” run on small donations is actually funded in large part by Joseph Mercola, a multi-millionaire who made his fortune selling “natural supplements” that supposedly serve as vaccine alternatives.
The revelation comes from an investigation by reporters at the Washington Post, who found that Mercola had contributed more than $2.9 million to the National Vaccine Information Center. That’s 40% of the group’s funding, according to the report, which elaborated on Mercola’s potential conflicts of interest.
In recent years, the center has been at the forefront of a movement that has led some parents to forgo or delay immunizing their children against vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles. Health officials say falling vaccination rates contributed to the infectious virus sickening more than 1,200 people in the United States this year, the largest number in more than 25 years…
The Northern Virginia-based National Vaccine Information Center lists Mercola.com as a partner on its homepage and links to the website, where readers can learn about and purchase Mercola’s merchandise.
Last month, Mercola wrote on his website that measles “continues to be a Trojan Horse for increasing vaccine mandates.” A page that was recently removed said that “vitamin C supplementation is a viable option for measles prevention.” Elsewhere on the site, a page about vitamin D includes the headline, “Avoid Flu Shots With the One Vitamin that Will Stop Flu in Its Tracks.”
Mercola, whose claims about other products have drawn warnings from regulators, has also given at least $4 million to several groups that echo the anti-vaccine message. His net worth, derived largely from his network of private companies, has grown to “in excess of $100 million,” he said in a 2017 affidavit.
That Mercola is now worth that much is horrifying yet not shocking at all. There’s a lot of money to be made in convincing gullible people doctors and other experts can’t be trusted. (Just ask Gwyneth Paltrow.)
In fact, Mercola has been in trouble for nonsense claims in the past. In 2016, for instance, he settled a lawsuit brought against him by the Federal Trade Commission over his false health claims. Specifically, he sold people tanning beds and claimed not only that they didn’t cause cancer but that they actively reduced the risks.
Of course Mercola claims he contributes to the National Vaccine Information Center because it provides “safe alternatives to the conventional medical system,” but he also refused to answer questions about how much money he makes from his top-selling “health” products, according to the Washington Post.
Mercola is one of a number of anti-vax millionaires who puts profit over the lives of everyday people. When will he finally be held accountable for his dangerous actions?
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