Dividend Heavyweights Go Head-to-Head: A Pfizer vs. AbbVie Showdown

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Written By Marcus Reynolds

In the realm of dividend investing, pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and AbbVie stand out as attractive options for those seeking steady income streams.

Both companies have a history of increasing their dividends annually for over a decade. It leaves investors often wondering which stock presents a better opportunity for long-term dividend income.

This analysis delves into the dividend profiles, challenges, and growth potentials of Pfizer and AbbVie to aid income-focused investors in making an informed decision.

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The Appeal of Pharma Dividends

The pharmaceutical industry is not typically the first sector that comes to mind for dividend investors due to its heavy reliance on innovation and the fleeting nature of patent protections.

Colorful tablets with capsules and pills on blue background — Stock Photo, Image
Credits: DepositPhotos

However, companies like Pfizer and AbbVie break the mold by offering robust dividend yields supported by a diverse portfolio of products that help mitigate the risks associated with patent expirations.

Pfizer’s Dividend Dynamics

Pfizer has demonstrated a commendable commitment to increasing its dividend, with a 61.5% rise in its payout over the last decade.

This growth, though not the fastest, coupled with a current yield of 6.2%, makes Pfizer an appealing choice for those seeking immediate high returns.

However, the company’s stock has experienced significant volatility, primarily due to the rapid rise and subsequent fall in sales of its COVID-19 products, Comirnaty and Paxlovid.

After an initial surge in sales expectations to $54 billion in 2022, projections have adjusted to $8 billion.

Despite a 72% drop in adjusted earnings per share in 2023, Pfizer’s dividend appears secure, with future earnings expected to rebound to between $2.05 and $2.25 per share in 2024.

This optimism is partly due to Pfizer’s strategic acquisition of Seagen, enhancing its cancer drug portfolio and promising substantial future revenue from drugs like Padcev.

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AbbVie’s Growth and Dividend Prospects

In contrast, AbbVie offers a lower yield of 3.6% but has a more impressive record of dividend growth, with a 269% increase since 2014. AbbVie faced its own challenges in 2023, notably the loss of U.S. patent protection for Humira, its leading product.

Despite this setback, the company’s strategic investments in new drugs like Rinvoq and Skyrizi have paid off, with combined sales of $11.7 billion last year and projections of over $27 billion by 2027.

AbbVie’s success extends to its migraine treatments, Ubrelvy and Qulipta, further diversifying its revenue streams and reinforcing its dividend growth potential.

Choosing Between Pfizer and AbbVie

For investors looking for immediate income, particularly those nearing or in retirement, Pfizer’s higher yield is an appealing option. Its stable dividend, even in the face of earnings volatility, offers a reassuring income source.

Vaccine Immunization Covid Laboratory — Stock Photo, Image
Credits: DepositPhotos

Conversely, AbbVie represents a more attractive choice for long-term investors. Its proven ability to grow dividends rapidly, combined with a promising product pipeline, suggests better dividend income potential over time.


The comparison between Pfizer and AbbVie underscores the importance of aligning investment choices with personal financial goals and risk tolerance. When considering Pfizer and AbbVie for dividend investing, the choice hinges on individual investment horizons and income needs.

Pfizer offers a secure, high-yield suitable for those requiring immediate income. Meanwhile, AbbVie stands out for its potential for significant dividend growth, supported by a strong pipeline of innovative treatments.

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