The global population is growing with each passing year. This is largely thanks to life-changing innovations, which have translated into increased global life expectancies.

The pharmaceutical industry has been at the forefront, with the launch of game-changing medicines and vaccines in recent decades. With the global population expected to rise from around 8 billion now to 9.7 billion by 2050, rising demand for medical treatments is practically built into the business model of big pharma.

Here are two pharmaceutical stocks that are currently appealing buys for investors searching for passive income and reasonable growth potential.

A doctor examining a patient during an appointment.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Amgen: A wonderful dividend growth stock

With a presence in roughly 100 countries around the world, Amgen (AMGN 1.27%) is a leading pharmaceutical company with a $151 billion market capitalization. The California-based drugmaker is focused on six therapeutic areas: nephrology, inflammation, neuroscience, oncology, bone health, and cardiovascular disease.

Unsurprisingly for a big pharma company, Amgen has a diversified drug portfolio. The business has over two-dozen medicines in its portfolio, spread across different therapy areas. And nine of these products are on track to generate at least $1 billion in sales in 2022. These include the immunology drug Enbrel, bone health therapy Prolia, and cholesterol-lowering medicine Repatha.

Amgen's recent drug launches, including the asthma treatment Tezspire (co-owned with AstraZeneca) and the cancer therapy Lumakras, should offset declines in its legacy drugs (like Enbrel). Along with dozens of compounds in its pipeline, such as promising biosimilar drugs, this is why analysts are anticipating 7% annual earnings growth through the next five years. This is in line with the drug manufacturer industry average growth forecast of 7%. 

On top of its solid growth prospects, Amgen can provide investors with a 3.1% dividend yield. For context, this is nearly double the S&P 500 index's 1.6% yield. And with the dividend payout ratio poised to clock in around 44% for the year, the company's dividend should have plenty of room for future growth. That's probably why Amgen was confident enough to recently boost its quarterly dividend per share by 9.8%. 

Income investors can snatch up shares of the stock at a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 15.4. Compared to the S&P 500 pharmaceutical industry average of 14.9, Amgen is reasonably valued. 

2. Sanofi: A high-yielder at a bargain

Like Amgen, Sanofi (SNY -0.78%) sells its medicines and vaccines in approximately 100 countries. The company's $120 billion market cap places it behind Amgen and just outside the 10 largest drugmakers on the planet. 

The French pharmaceutical company has numerous therapies and vaccines in its portfolio. Chief among these is the immunology mega-blockbuster (at least $5 billion in annual sales) Dupixent, which is co-owned with Regeneron. And there's reason to believe the drug can build on this success with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval for use in patients with eosinophilic esophagitis in June.

Sanofi isn't a one-trick pony, either. The company has four other medicines and two vaccine franchises on pace to top $1 billion in sales in 2022. And with 81 projects at varying points of clinical development, Sanofi's future is also encouraging. Analysts anticipate that earnings will compound at 12.3% annually for the next five years.

The company's 3.7% dividend yield is quite generous. Given that the payout ratio is expected to be just over 39% over the next 12 months, the dividend is also quite secure. Yield-oriented investors can scoop up shares of Sanofi at a forward P/E ratio of just 10.9. That's compelling value for a company with above-average income and earnings growth potential, which is what makes Sanofi a convincing buy.