Another pharmaceutical stock worth watching is Merck (MRK). This stock has a good long-term track record, both in regards to share performance and in regards to dividends; the stock has mildly outperformed the broader market since the Great Recession and has dished out dividends in some form since 1935.
And like Pfizer, this pick is very stable even in tough economic times because healthcare is one expense that remains robust even if consumers feel the pain.
There are issues with generic competition and patent expirations at Merck, of course, including multibillion-dollar cardiovascular drugs like losing their patent protection in this year.
But considering the big acquisitions lately, including the 2009 mega-merger with Schering-Plough and the more low-key buyouts of biotech firms Inspire Pharma and SmartCells, Merck is hardly just standing still.