Paul D. Thacker

I'm an American investigative journalist based in Spain and former Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. I've written on scientific ethics for outlets including the New York Times, BMJ Investigations, JAMA, Washington Post, NEJM, Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, and Mother Jones. I also spent several years in the U.S. Senate investigating corruption and conflicts of interest in science and medicine. 

Selected Articles

Most articles are recent, but I've included older investigations that continue to be cited in news stories, books, and documentaries.

Covid-19: Researcher blows the whistle on data integrity issues in Pfizer’s vaccine trial

In autumn 2020 Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, Albert Bourla, released an open letter to the billions of people around the world who were investing their hopes in a safe and effective covid-19 vaccine to end the pandemic. “As I’ve said before, we are operating at the speed of science,” Bourla wrote, explaining to the public when they could expect a Pfizer vaccine to be authorised in the United States.1

But, for researchers who were testing Pfizer’s vaccine at several sites in Texas durin

Fact Check True! Yes, Fauci Funded Research in Wuhan and Lied to Congress

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent began scratching about like a cornered badger a week back when Elon Musk tweeted that the NIH’s Anthony Fauci should be prosecuted.

“In his attack, Musk flatly validated a big right-wing obsession,” Greg huffed, devoting an entire column to defend Fauci from a tweet. “The idea that Fauci was involved in U.S. government funding of controversial early research into covid, and lied to Congress about it.”

I really have no clue why this guy waded into a matter he

Is the media still stifling the lab-leak theory?

Last autumn, American intelligence agencies reported to the White House that they remain divided on whether the pandemic started naturally or was the result of a lab accident. “All agencies assess that two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated incident,” the report concluded. At least among foreign policy experts, the lab-leak theory is no longer dismissed out of hand.

But this virus has now killed over 6,000,000 people across the planet, a

Science — especially climate research — needs a ‘sunshine’ law

Paul D. Thacker is a Spain-based journalist who runs the DisInformation Chronicle. From 2007 to 2010, he worked for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee investigating corruption and scientific integrity in academia, corporations, and federal agencies.

Ten years ago, I worked in the United States Senate and helped draft and pass the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. The law requires companies to report monies and gifts they give physicians, which are known to influence what doctors prescribe or prom

Weber Shandwick Provides PR for Moderna and Pfizer, While Staffing the CDC’s Vaccine Office

Early last month, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky endorsed recommendations by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

“This recommendation followed a comprehensive scientific evaluation and robust scientific discussion,” Dr. Walensky said in a statement. “If you are eligible, there is no bad time to get your COVID-19 booster and I strongly encourage you to receive it.”

The American Medical Association welcome

Perspective | Scientists know plastics are dangerous. Why won’t the government say so?

In July, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a letter that would stop almost any parent in their tracks: Chemicals in food colorings, preservatives and packaging can be dangerous to children, and they aren’t being suitably regulated by the government. A review of almost 4,000 additives found that 64 percent had no research proving they were safe for people to eat or drink; these chemicals can be especially harmful to small children because they are still growing, making them more vulnerabl