Desperately ill people were persuaded to pay up to €77 per daily dose of the alternative medicine, based on chelidonium extract. Novytskyi allegedly claimed it was highly effective in the treatment of cancer.
Novytskyi created the concoction in 1978, and named it Ukrain in honour of the country of his birth. Through an Austrian company known as Nowicky Pharma, the drug, which was never approved by regulators, was sold as a treatment for AIDS, radiation-induced diseases and as a cure for all forms of cancer.
Novytskyi is alleged to have made more than €1.1 million through fraud, which involved changing the labels on expired doses.
In his defense, the chemist claimed to have successfully treated many cases of cancer with the herbal extract, and says it is used by hundreds of doctors all over the world, including in Australia and the USA.
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Chelidonium, also known as tettorwort and nipplewort, is a yellow flowering herb related to the poppy family.