Merck (NYSE:MRK) is one of the world's biggest drugmakers and is a staple in dividend investors' portfolios.

That's because pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), and Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) offer investors a steady (and predictable) stream of dividend-boosting revenue. But investors are right to wonder if Merck's dividend can continue after the patent cliff shaved billions off the company's top line over the past few years.

In the following slideshow you'll see whether I believe Merck's dividend is safe and gain insight into how Merck compares to its industry peers.

Todd Campbell has no position in any stocks mentioned. Todd owns E.B. Capital Markets, LLC. E.B. Capital's clients may or may not have positions in the companies mentioned. Todd owns Gundalow Advisors, LLC. Gundalow's clients do not have positions in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool 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. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.