FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013 file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. A report released Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill finds that companies selling some of the most lucrative prescription painkillers funneled millions of dollars to advocacy groups that in turn promoted the medicationsÂ’ use. Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, contributed the most money to the groups, funneling $4.7 million to organizations and physicians from 2012 through last year, according to the report. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Utah says it will file lawsuit against OxyContin drugmaker

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah is planning to file a lawsuit against manufacturers of the opioid OxyContin, claiming the company is responsible for high rates of overdoses and deaths.

State chief criminal deputy Spencer Austin told lawmakers Wednesday that the attorney’s general office will take action against drugmaker Purdue Pharma to exert additional pressure on the company in settlement negotiations. He said the state is likely to later expand the suit to include other companies.

A day earlier, attorneys general in six other states filed a separate suit against Connecticut-based Purdue. The company has denied the claims and said it will defend itself.

Purdue did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

State Attorney General Sean Reyes has faced escalating pressure from Utah lawmakers looking for forceful action against opioid companies.