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Osteopathic physician donates millions to anti-vaccine movement

Syringe on gauze pad surrounded by vaccine bottles
Photo: Jonnie Miles/Getty Images

Osteopath Joseph Mercola has donated more than $2.9 million over a nearly 10-year stretch to the National Vaccine Information Center — accounting for nearly 40% of the organization's funding, the Washington Post reports, citing recent tax records.

Why it matters: Mercola has made millions of dollars selling natural health products, such as supplements, according to court records. He has made claims on his website that some of his remedies are effective alternatives to vaccines, the Post notes.

  • Mercola's claims have resulted in warnings from regulators.
  • Mercola's net worth is close to $100 million, per a 2017 affidavit the Post references, and he has donated $4 million to groups that support the anti-vaccination movement.
  • The NVIC is the country's oldest anti-vaccine advocacy group and claims it's mostly supported by small donations. The organization has played a major role in getting parents to delay or avoid vaccinating their children.

The NVIC lists Mercola's website as a partner on its homepage with links to his site where readers can see and buy his products.

What they're saying: In an email, Mercola told the Post, he offers "simple, inexpensive and safe alternatives to the conventional medical system, which is contributing to the premature death of millions and is causing needless pain and suffering in great part because multinational corporations want to increase their revenues.”

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