A sensitive and simple spectrophotometric method for the estimation of catechol and its derivatives like dopamine hydrochloride (DPH), levodopa (LDP), methyldopa (MDP) and adrenaline hydrochloride (ADH) in both pure form and in pharmaceutical formulation, is described. The method is based on the interaction of diazotised sulphanilamide (DSA) with catechol derivatives in the presence of molybdate ions in acidic medium. Absorbance of the resulting red coloured product is measured at 490 nm for pyrocatechol (PCL) and at 500 nm for other catechol derivatives. The colour reaction is stable for 24-30 h. Under optimal conditions, Beer's Law range for pyrocatechol was found to be between 0.04 and 2.4 (R.S.D.=0.78%), for DPH was 0.02-2.8 (R.S.D.=0.98%) for LDP was 0.1-2.8 (R.S.D.=1.21%) for MDP was 0.5-7 (R.S.D.=1.41%) and for ADH was 0.5-7 (R.S.D.=1.58%). The method is highly reproducible and specific for these selected catechol derivatives. The common excipients used as additives do not interfere in the proposed method. Analytical data for the determination of the pure compound is presented together with the application of the proposed method to the analysis of some pharmaceutical formulations. The results compare favourably with those of official and reported methods.