South Korea's National Health Insurance Service sues the local units of Philip Morris (PM) and British American Tobacco (BTI) and KT&G Corp. for ~$52M to offset the cost of treating smoking-related diseases.
The agency calculated the damages based on payments data by state insurers for patients with three types of cancer related to smoking.
This is the first lawsuit against tobacco firms from a country in the Western Pacific.
PM and BTI account for one third of South Korea's $9.3B tobacco market.
South Korea's Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of KT&G on a separate case brought by individuals.