Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) is getting crushed today, even though it didn't technically miss its earnings guidance. Of course, that's the problem with companies like Celgene, Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG), and Monsanto (NYSE:MON). They tend to issue conservative guidance, and then raise it as the year goes on, after blowing through initial estimates. So when they merely meet their guidance, Wall Street isn't impressed.

Yesterday afternoon, the drugmaker said it expected to make the low end of its previous guidance ranges for non-GAAP revenue and earnings per share for the year. Even at the extreme low end, that's a 16% increase in revenue and a 31% increase in earnings. First-quarter non-GAAP earnings per share are  expected to increase only 20%, so investors may be a little worried about whether the company can even make the low end of its yearly range.

Some companies would kill for that kind of year-over-year growth in this economy, but Celgene had higher growth priced in. Higher multiples require higher growth rates. It's just that simple. Sorry, Celgene; no soup for you.

The company said that increased demand for co-pay assistance and free drugs for patients contributed to its lower-than-hoped-for revenue. That should pique the interest of investors in other drugmakers widely considered recession-proof. Companies such as Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD), Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), and Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) sell cancer and HIV drugs that patients require for survival, whatever their economic situation. But as Celgene has shown, that doesn't mean these businesses can completely defy economic downturns.

Keep in mind that while its revenue may not be as high as investors would like, the demand for Celgene's products remains strong. 2009 may not be the company's best year, but the economy is bound to come back, and this year will eventually just be a blip on the chart for long-term investors. Consider picking up this blue-light special while it's on sale.

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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.