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Shockingly, the pharmaceutical company Roche Genentech recently warned doctors and hospitals that a counterfeit version of the popular cancer drug Avastin is circulating in the U.S. That fake version lacks the active ingredient to combat cancer of the lung, colon, kidney and brain. Avastin works by cutting off the blood supply that feeds tumors.

Avastin is a huge money-making drug for Roche, generating $6 billion in sales per year. A spokeswoman for the company says that they are unsure where the counterfeit drugs were circulated and how many vials are in circulation. However, she also added that the company is working with the FDA to track down the counterfeit vials and to analyze their contents.

The FDA also announced that it recently contacted 19 medical practices that may have unknowingly purchased counterfeit drugs from a foreign company called Quality Specialty Products. Genentech was alerted to the problem by foreign health regulators, but is unsure in which country the fake company is located. Counterfeit prescription drug distribution is a growing problem in the U.S. because of more pharmaceutical companies moving their production facilities offshore. In fact, 80% of active ingredients in U.S. pharmaceutical drugs are made overseas.

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