Abstract The degradation of 100mL of solution with salicylic acid (SA) in the pH range 3.0–10.0 has been studied by anodic oxidation in a cell with a boron-doped diamond (BDD) anode and a stainless steel cathode, both of 3cm2 area, by applying a current of 100, 300 and 450mA at 25°C. Completed mineralization is always achieved due to the great concentration of hydroxyl radical (OH) generated at the BDD surface. The mineralization rate increases with increasing applied current, but decreases when drug concentration rises from 200mgL−1. Nevertheless, the pH effect was not significant. During oxidation it was observed that catechol, 2,5-dihydroxylated benzoic acid, 2,3-dihydroxylated benzoic acid and hydroquinone were formed as aromatic intermediates. In addition, ion-exclusion chromatography allowed the detection of fumaric, maleic, oxalic and formic as the ultimate carboxylic acid.