By Associated Press
March 26, 2019

(TULSA, Okla.) — Oklahoma’s attorney general will announce a settlement Tuesday with drugmaker Purdue Pharma Inc. in a case that’s expected to be the first state lawsuit accusing major drug manufacturers of fueling the opioid epidemic to go to trial.

Attorney General Mike Hunter will hold a press conference that will include an “announcement of a settlement agreement with Purdue Pharma,” according to a statement from Hunter’s office. The lawsuit also names a dozen other opioid manufacturers.

Alex Gerszewski, a spokesman for the attorney general, confirmed Tuesday morning that the settlement with Purdue would be announced later in the day in Tulsa, but he declined further comment about the settlement. He also said the trial is still scheduled to take place in late May.

The move comes after the Oklahoma Supreme Court denied a request from drugmakers on Monday to postpone the start of the trial in the case. The trial was expected to be the first state trial in lawsuits accusing the companies of fueling the country’s opioid epidemic.

Oklahoma sued 13 opioid manufacturers in 2017, alleging they fraudulently engaged in marketing campaigns that led to thousands of overdose addictions and deaths. State officials have said that since 2009, more Oklahoma residents have died from opioid-related deaths than in vehicle crashes.

Sandy Coats, an attorney for Purdue Pharma, did not return a call seeking comment.

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