Forever is a long time. Before you invest money into a stock intending to hold shares for that long, it's vital to ensure the company has what it takes to succeed for years on end. That includes offering products or services that are unlikely to run out of style, the ability to innovate, and a competitive advantage.

Investors can find a few such companies in the market -- some even trading at discounts. Let's look at two companies that fit the bill: Pfizer (PFE -0.43%) and Abbott Laboratories (ABT 0.22%). In addition to being solid businesses, both companies are excellent dividend payers. Let's dig in. 

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1. Pfizer 

Pfizer can't catch a break. Despite registering record revenue last year and a recent acquisition that could be a game changer, the company's shares are down by 22% since the beginning of 2023. What gives? In a way, Pfizer is a victim of its own success. The pharma giant won't maintain the pace it set over the past two years as sales of its coronavirus products, which are mainly responsible for its performance of late, will drop substantially.

Even so, Pfizer looks like a buy for investors focused on the long game. For one, as a leader in the pharmaceutical industry, Pfizer offers lifesaving drugs that are near the bottom of people's list of things to cut back on when financial troubles arise. And unless there is an all-purpose cure for all diseases in the works, the medicines the company sells will continue to be essential for a long time. Second, Pfizer has a habit of developing new products.

In fact, the company is in the middle of the most important stretch in its history. Those are CEO Albert Bourla's words. That may sound hyperbolic, but Pfizer plans to earn approval for 19 new products in the next 18 months. That's a staggering number. One way to put it in context is to note that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 37 new drugs in 2022 -- for the entire industry.

By itself, Pfizer could exceed half of that total in the next year and a half. 

Pfizer's pending acquisition of Seagen for $43 billion in cash will further boost its innovative capabilities, especially in the area of oncology. Like its peers in the industry, Pfizer's most important competitive advantage is the patent protection its products benefit from, which allows it some degree of pricing power. Patent exclusivity often means the drugs can grow their sales for years before dealing with generic competition.

So with a pipeline being rejuvenated, Pfizer should be able to grow its non-coronavirus revenue at a good clip for years to come. The company currently offers a generous dividend yield of 4% and a modest cash payout ratio of 35%. Having raised its dividend by 20.6% in the past five years, Pfizer is well-positioned to keep boosting its payouts for a long time thanks to the solid business backing these dividend payments. 

2. Abbott Laboratories

Abbott Laboratories is a medical devices specialist. The company has faced several issues over the past couple of years, from the pandemic disrupting its business to a recall of some of its infant powder products. The impact of these headwinds seems to still be weighing on Abbott Laboratories as its shares are down 11% this year. But things will eventually get back to normal for the healthcare giant. 

Abbott Labs markets dozens of medical technologies that help physicians treat their patients. And the company is constantly developing new devices. In early March, Abbott announced that the FDA had cleared a mild traumatic brain injury (concussion) blood test developed by the company, which became the first commercially available lab-based blood test of its kind in the U.S.

The company is running plenty of clinical studies that should lead to new clearances or additional indications.

Abbott Laboratories has made progress in recent years in diabetes care with its continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system, the FreeStyle Libre. This device gives patients a better way to keep track of their blood glucose levels. It has been one of the company's most important growth drivers in the past few years, and that probably won't change anytime soon given the large and growing number of people with diabetes worldwide, which currently stands at 422 million as of right now. Abbott is one of the world leaders in CGM technology

The company also benefits from patent protection for the new products it develops. Further, there is a learning curve for physicians who use its medical devices, which grants some of the equipment the company offers a degree of high switching costs, bolstering its competitive edge. The rest of the company's business -- its nutrition, diagnostics, and pharmaceutical units -- add some diversification to Abbott's operations.

And as a dividend stock, Abbott Laboratories is in a rare class. It has raised its payouts for 51 consecutive years, which makes it a Dividend King. Abbott can offer growth and income for a long time for investors who add its shares to their portfolios today.