In 1994, Canada became the second country to release national guidelines for the economic evaluation of pharmaceuticals. The guidelines were developed over a period of 18 months through an elaborate process of broad consultation with a wide variety of relevant stakeholders. The intent of the guidelines is to provide guidance to doers and users of studies, by laying out the general 'state of the art' regarding methods, and by providing specific methodological advice on many matters. The aim is to improve the scientific quality and integrity of studies, and to enhance consistency and comparability across studies. This article presents the Canadian guidelines, both in summary and in detail. Because the techniques of economic evaluation are widely applicable beyond pharmaceuticals, the guidelines will be of interest to researchers and decision makers in all fields of healthcare. Because the methods are not country specific, the guidelines will be of interest to those in other countries as well as in Canada.