Tension brews between cities, states over opioid lawsuits

CLEVELAND (AP) — Tension is emerging between lawyers representing state and local governments over the path forward in a set of lawsuits seeking to hold the drug industry accountable for the toll of the nation’s opioid crisis.

A federal judge is holding a hearing Tuesday in Cleveland on a plan pitched by lawyers for local governments on distributing money to nearly 25,000 municipal and county governments. The plan would take effect if companies that make and distribute the powerful prescription painkillers agree to one or more legal settlements.

Attorneys general for most states said Monday in a pair of letters to Judge Dan Polster that such an arrangement could hurt their ability to reach a national settlement.

Drug distribution companies and pharmacies are opposing the arrangement.

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