Kentucky Republicans, Democrats clash over opioid epidemic

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – A top Republican lawmaker says Kentucky settled a lawsuit against a major prescription painkiller for “pennies on the dollar” to avoid an embarrassing conflict of interest for the state’s Democratic attorney general.

The allegation from Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers comes on the same day Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear announced his intention to file up to 10 lawsuits against prescription painkiller manufacturers. Beshear accused Stivers of trying to politicize the opioid epidemic.

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Former Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway settled Kentucky’s case against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma in December 2015 for $24 million just a few weeks before Beshear took office. Before becoming attorney general, Beshear previously worked for a law firm that represented Purdue Pharma in the case.

Conway said the settlement had nothing to do with Beshear.

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