BOB JOHNSON Associated Press Writer MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A judge declared a mistrial Monday after jurors were unable to reach a verdict in the trial of Alabama’s prescription drug overpricing lawsuit against California-based Watson Pharmaceuticals. Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price said Monday jurors appeared to be hopelessly deadlocked after more than 7 hours of deliberations. He said he expects the case will be tried with a new jury in September. Price declared the mistrial about two hours after he had asked the jury to keep working. Price said the jurors appeared to be split the same as they were when deliberations began. The judge did not say how jurors were split. “They haven’t moved since day one and they just aren’t going to move,” Price said. Attorneys for the state claimed Watson cheated the state’s Medicaid program out of $23 million over about 14 years and had asked jurors to make the company pay up to five times that much in damages. The trial was in its fourth week. Jurors had begun deliberations last week and continued Monday afternoon. An attorney for the state, prominent Montgomery plaintiff’s lawyer Jere Beasley, said he had felt the state would win the case. “Obviously we would rather have a verdict,” Beasley said after the mistrial was announced. “This was a strong case. We just had some folks on the jury that came in against us.” The mistrial was a positive sign for Watson. The state had won large multimillion-dollar verdicts in three previous trials against four drug manufacturers. “It’s a start toward setting things right,” said James Matthews, an attorney for Watson. Another attorney for the drug manufacturer, Don Jones, said the jury’s inability to reach a verdict indicates at least some members of the panel were listening to their arguments. “We tried to send our message that Watson reported true and accurate prices and obviously somebody was listening,” Jones said. Watson is one of more than 70 pharmaceutical companies that Alabama Attorney General Troy King sued in 2005 for allegedly causing Alabama’s Medicaid program to pay too much for medicine for some of the state’s poorest citizens. Attorneys for the state claimed during the trial that Medicaid officials were led to believe by Watson that the state was paying below wholesale prices for prescription drugs. But attorneys for Watson argued that Medicaid officials should have known they were paying higher prices and that some of the state’s own documents showed the state was not paying a price lower than the wholesale price. Watson manufactures both generic and brand-name drugs. Last month the state announced it had settled drug pricing lawsuits against six pharmaceutical companies for $89 million. They included lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories of Chicago and New York City-based Forest Laboratories. Both were scheduled to be tried with the Watson case. The state had previously settled with 10 companies for almost $35 million. Alabama’s lawsuits against four companies have gone to trial, with the state winning judgments totaling $352.4 million. Those verdicts are being appealed.