Want a taste of what it'll be like when Lipitor sees generic competition in the U.S.? Just look at Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE) first-quarter sales. The Lipitor erosion's already begun abroad, sending international sales of the mega-blockbuster down 25%.

Fortunately, Pfizer was able to keep overall sales flat in the first quarter, thanks to growth in other areas. Combined sales of its vaccine Prevnar and the follow-on Prevnar 13 surged 43%. Enbrel, which it sells outside the U.S. for Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN), along with Lyrica and Celebrex -- Nos. 3, 4, and 5 on the top-selling list -- also posted year-over-year gains.

Animal health and consumer health, two of the units potentially up for spinoff duty, rose a solid 16% and 12% respectively. It'll be a shame to see them go, but setting them free could help the company move ahead.

Pfizer won't be able to hold revenue steady once Lipitor sees U.S. generic competition in November, though. The drugmaker is guiding for about $3 billion less in revenue between this year and next. Fortunately, that's less than 5% of the company's revenue, thanks to its addition of Wyeth.

Investors weren't impressed, sending shares down a couple of percentage points yesterday. Part of their disgruntlement likely stems from the sluggishness with which Pfizer appears to be moving toward its potential breakup. CEO Ian Read basically pushed back a decision until 2012. I still think the company is worth more than the sum of its parts, but who can blame investors for being anxious? Uncertainty isn't an investor's friend.

Investors' best move is probably to wait it out, collecting a fat dividend along the way. However, other solid drugmakers such as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) might give better returns over the next year, when you combine the dividend with the capital appreciation.

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Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Johnson & Johnson is a Motley Fool Income Investor choice. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Johnson & Johnson. The Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Alpha Newsletter Account, LLC owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.