Four US drugs giants have reached an agreement to pay $26bn (£19bn) as settlement of legal suits that claims they helped fuel an opioid addiction crisis.

Three drugs distributors are expected to pay $21bn as stated on Wednesday under a proposal unveiled by a group of state attorney generals.

New York attorney general, Letitia James in a statement said the firms fueled “the fire of opioid addiction for more than two decades”.

She added that, “While no amount of money nor any action can ever make up for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost or the millions more addicted to opioids, we can take every action possible to avoid any future devastation.”

The proposed agreement would resolve nearly 4,000 claims against the four companies if approved by a large number of states and governments.

Drug-maker Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is expected to pay $5bn over the next five years.

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