By MARK GILLISPIE and GEOFF MULVIHILL

CLEVELAND (AP) - Major drug distributors and manufacturers are pressing to settle thousands of claims against them related to the nation's persistent opioid crisis as their trial date draws closer.

The companies are negotiating with state attorneys general as jury selection is expected to wrap up on Thursday in the first federal trial over an overdose epidemic that has claimed more than 400,000 American lives in the past two decades. Arguments are scheduled to begin Monday against some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry unless they can strike a deal.

A source familiar with the negotiations described the outlines of a tentative nationwide settlement as worth tens of billions of dollars. The talks involve the distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, as well as drug makers Johnson & Johnson and Teva.

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