FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2019, file photo, is Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter smiles during an interview in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has denied a request by drugmakers to postpone the trial in the state's lawsuit accusing them of fueling the opioid epidemic. The state's highest court handed down the decision Monday, a week after attorneys for drugmakers and the state made oral presentations on the request to delay the trial's scheduled May 28 start. Hunter sued 13 opioid manufacturers in 2017, alleging they fraudulently engaged in marketing campaigns that led to thousands of overdose addictions and deaths. Several states have filed similar lawsuits, but Oklahoma's is expected to be the first to go to trial. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

Oklahoma officials to announce a settlement in opioid case

March 26, 2019 - 9:49 am

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma's attorney general will announce a settlement Tuesday with one of 13 drug manufacturers named in a state lawsuit that accuses them of fueling the opioid epidemic, but the other companies still face what's expected to be the first of numerous state lawsuits 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. He declined further comment about the settlement, but 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. The trial is 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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