To recover medical costs incurred due to tobacco-related illnesses, the National Health Insurance Service has filed a 52-million U.S. dollar complaint against the nation's biggest tobacco company KT&G, as well as Phillip Morris and British American Tobacco.
The amount claimed is based on the big data analysis of the amount spent on cancer patients suffering from lung or laryngeal over the past 10 years.
The health agency says nearly 4-percent of its total health insurance payouts have gone toward tobacco-related treatments since 2011.
For each pack of cigarettes that is sold in the country, about 34 cents goes to the government, or about 1-and-a-half billion dollars annually.
Officials of the agency say they are taking up the case because they're having a hard time keeping health costs down.
"As you all are well aware, smoking cigarettes affects the nation’s people, and especially women and adolescents. We are going to proceed with the legal battle for the future of our nation, and to guarantee that health insurance costs are maintained."
The announcement by the agency comes on the heels of a Supreme Court decision late last week, in which the tobacco company KT&G won a 15-year-long legal battle against individuals who were seeking compensation for their smoking-related illnesses.
Out of a total of four tobacco-related lawsuits in the nation, none of the plantiffs have won.
The health insurance service, however, believes they have a stronger case.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.