LONG BEACH - Three Long Beach doctors together received more than half a million dollars from pharmaceutical companies between 2009 and 2012, according to a new study.

The figures paid for speaking at events and similar consulting work were complied by ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit news organization.

The study shows that Dr. Steven Meltzer received $206,225 from four different drug companies, Dr. John Deirmenjian received $184,800 from four companies, and Dr. Minou Tran was paid $151,200 from two companies. The doctors were the three highest earners of pharmaceutical company payments during the time period of the study in Long Beach.

Tran defended the payments, comparing them to other teaching earnings, while Deirmenjian declined to comment and Meltzer couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

"I love to teach," Tran said Monday, explaining that she had lectured on the treatment of diabetes. "The average physician doesn't get enough information about the medicines ... They don't know the ins and outs of the medications."

Tran, who specializes in internal medicine, endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, according to medical websites, said other professionals, such as lawyers, get compensated for time lecturing and teaching, adding that her income dropped significantly after 2010.

"Everybody gets compensated for their time," she said. "The bottom line is I don't recommend a medicine until I know it's working," the doctor said.

She said the earnings average about $200 to $250 per hour, the average doctor's pay, but don't take into account the preparation of the lessons that takes about six hours, along with travel time.

"There were times when I was away from my family," Tran said.

Deirmenjian specializes in psychiatry and plastic surgery, medical websites say.

Meltzer is a pediatrician who works at the Allergy and Asthma Care Center, 3816 Woodruff Ave. His specialties include pediatrics, allergy, immunology and internal medicine, according to the MemorialCare Health System website.

joe.segura@presstelegram.com, 562-714-2167, twitter.com/JoeSeguraPT