Pfizer (PFE 0.91%) and AbbVie (ABBV 0.22%) have produced strong total returns over the past decade, and both pharmaceutical companies have what it takes to keep up the pace going forward, despite looming patent cliffs for both.

Over the past five years, AbbVie's total return is 249%, and Pfizer's is 167%, and given their strong cash flow and ability to purchase assets and develop their own therapies with large pipelines, there are plenty of reasons to see the two dividend stocks doubling your return over the next decade.

1. Pfizer is priced to buy

Pfizer is off to a record year, with management saying in its third-quarter earnings report that it expects annual revenue between $99.5 billion to $102 billion, which at the midpoint represents a rise of 23.9% over 2021. Management also forecasts annual earnings per share (EPS) to be between $6.40 to $6.50, compared to $3.99 last year. The stock is down more than 9% for the year, which is why the company is trading at slightly more than 10 times earnings. It's a bargain now that should pay off for the next decade.

Pfizer is scheduled to increase its quarterly dividend for the 14th consecutive year with an announced boost of 2.5% next year to $0.41 per share. That works out to a yield of around 3.14%. That growing dividend is a big reason why the company's total return is up 219.5% over the past 10 years.

The biggest concern regarding Pfizer is the patent cliff it faces with inflammatory and autoimmune therapy Xeljanz and advanced kidney cancer drug Inlyta in 2025, blood thinner Eliquis in 2026, and breast cancer drug Ibrance and prostate cancer therapy Xtandi in 2027. Combined, the drugs brought in $16 billion of the company's $81.2 billion in 2021 revenue. Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, was responsible for $36.8 billion of that total, and that number is expected to decline greatly. 

Pfizer said in a recent presentation that it expects to lose $17 billion in earnings from 2025 to 2030 because of the patent cliffs. However, it has the pipeline to replace those earnings and more. It said annual revenue from its mRNA vaccines for the flu, shingles, and COVID could be worth as much as $10 billion to $15 million by 2030.

It has also used its profits from Comirnaty to buy assets that will grow, including migraine drugs Nurtec ODT/Vydura and Zavegepant, which it got when it bought Biohaven Pharmaceuticals for $11.6 billion in October. Nurtec ODT/Vydura was launched in August as the first medication approved for the acute treatment of migraine and preventative treatment of episodic migraines. Zavegepant, designed to treat chronic migraines, is expected to launch next year. The migraine market is expected to grow to 40,000 prescriptions, meaning the potential for $6 billion in annual sales for Pfizer. The company also spent $5.4 billion in October to buy Global Blood Therapeutics, obtaining the company's sickle cell disease drug, Oxbryta, and two pipeline therapies GBT601 and Inclacumab, which, if approved, could be worth as much as $3 billion in peak annual sales. 

The company also spent $6.7 billion to buy Arena Pharmaceuticals in 2021 and is expecting big things from ulcerative colitis and immuno-inflammatory drug Etrasimod, saying it could bring in $1 billion to $2 billion annually.  

2. AbbVie: A blue chip trading at a discount

AbbVie spun off from Abbott Laboratories in 2013 and since then has increased its dividend by 270%. Counting AbbVie's time with Abbott Labs, it is a Dividend King and has already announced a 5% bump in its quarterly dividend next year to $1.48 a share, the 51st consecutive year the company has increased its dividend.

At its current price, AbbVie's dividend yield is 3.58%. It would be even higher, but the company's stock has climbed more than 21% in the past year. The company's price-to-earnings ratio of 22 is still relatively low, considering AbbVie's huge pipeline and the likelihood that its Humira patent cliff won't be that steep.

The drug, which has already brought in $20.9 billion through nine months, will face biosimilar competition next year in the United States. However, it has already faced biosimilar competition in Europe for four years, and yet it still pulled in $3 billion in nine-month sales in Europe, down only 2% year over year. The company's sales won't crater here because biologics hold their value longer than oral small-molecule drugs against generic competition, as biologics are more difficult to make. While companies are lining up with biosimilars to Humira, the sheer number of competitors may give Humira and its brand name an advantage. Even so, AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez has said he expects Humira sales to fall around 45% in 2023. 

Stepping into that breach are the company's next-generation immunology therapies, Skyrizi and Rinvoq. Through nine months, the two brought in $3.589 billion and $1.752 billion, respectively, in revenue and, combined, are off to a better start than Humira in their first three years. 

On top of that, the company has nine late-stage cancer therapies in its pipeline, led by Imbruvica, Venclexta, and Epcoritamab. Blood cancer therapy Imbruvica brought in $3.453 billion in revenue in the first nine months of this year and is in late-stage trials to treat follicular lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma. Venclexta had $1.493 billion in revenue through nine months and is in Phase 3 trials to treat multiple myeloma and myelodysplastic syndrome. Epcoritamab is being looked at to treat multiple B cell malignancies.