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Yost Not Ready To Join National Opioid Settlement

Dave Yost speaks at the Ohio Republican Party event, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Yost was elected as the next Ohio attorney general.
Tony Dejak
Associated Press

A group of state attorneys general is pushing officials from other state and local governments to accept a $48 billion deal to settle all the opioid-related lawsuits against two drugmakers and the three biggest distributors.

But it's not going to be an easy sell.

In a statement Monday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said the deal, described as a framework, is "a pile of lumber that's been dropped on the construction site."

The attorneys general reiterated the key points Monday of a deal that was in the works but not completed last week.

Their public push for it came hours after four of the five companies involved announced a narrow settlement with the Ohio counties of Cuyahoga and Summit to avert a trial that would have begun Monday.

The announcement from the top state government lawyers in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas came hours after two Ohio counties said they had settled their lawsuits against a drugmaker and the three distributors to avert the first federal trial on the opioid crisis. Opening statements in the Cleveland trial had been scheduled for Monday.

The plan being hammered out by the attorneys general was worked on last week. It would be worth up to $48 billion over time in cash and treatment drugs.

Paul Hanly, a lead lawyer for local governments, said it was the same deal that was already rejected. He said the companies should pay more.