Heated court battle

South Korea’s food and drug watchdog said today it had filed a response to Philip Morris Korea’s lawsuit over the disclosure of information related to research on the harmful substances found in alternative tobacco products, according to a Yonhap News Agency report.
After filing a statement to the Seoul Administrative Court on Saturday, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it had briefed a local law firm to prepare for a legal battle with PM Korea.
The Yonhap story said that the Ministry and PM Korea were expected to engage in a ‘fierce legal battle’ once the court had set a hearing schedule.
The lawsuit came after the Ministry said in June that five cancer-causing substances were found in heat-not-burn tobacco products sold in the local market, with the level of tar detected in some of them exceeding that of conventional cigarettes.
The ministry made the announcement after investigating PM’s IQOS, British American Tobacco’s glo and KT&G’s lil.
Four months later, PM Korea sued the Ministry for declining PM’s request to provide certain information about its research results, including the method of analysis and the experimental data.
PM has claimed that, compared with conventional cigarettes, IQOS delivers lower levels of harmful compounds.
The Ministry has reportedly expressed its displeasure at the lawsuit, saying PM Korea had skipped several administrative procedures aimed at ironing out differences.