Doctor promises to keep fighting for Newark teen battling cancer


“It can have lifesaving consequences, it's a shame we have to continue to fight that,” said Dr. Floor Backes, a gynecological oncologist OSU’s James Cancer Center. She explains too many patients, like Emily Ball, have to fight for meds that can mean life or death.

“It's very frustrating, and it happens for a lot of different patients, unfortunately,” Dr. Backes said.

At age 18, Emily is in her fourth battle with cancer. Dr. Backes recommended an oral chemo Emily can take at home. Her insurance company, Express Scripts, has denied the drugs twice.

The maker of the drug has given Emily a 90 day supply but makes no guarantees after that.

"I shouldn't have to be arguing with these insurance companies and all of these medical bills," Emily said. "I've had cancer four times. Please, give me a break. Please."

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10TV contacted Express Scripts for comment. They cannot discuss individual cases, but gave this statement:

"We understand that people want medicines prescribed by their physicians. Our role is to make sure, working with physicians, our clients, and the patients we serve, that people get medications which are FDA approved for a specific indication. Medications are covered for use when they are clinically appropriate for the patient. Medications are not covered by the benefit plan offered by an employer when the treatment is not FDA approved for the proposed use."

Dr. Backes is hoping they will be able to prove the needed medicine is working and can argue with the insurance company again.

“If we can show to the drug company that this medication is working for her, we have another argument that she should continue to use this,” Dr. Backes said.

Dr. Backes hopes the 90 day supply works, and Emily can keep fighting.

“She's a very tough girl and has been bravely battling this disease for a very long time. I hope we can do that, and continue to do that,” Dr. Backes said.