The development of new knowledge around the genetic determinants of variable drug action has naturally raised the question of how this new knowledge can be used to improve the outcome of drug therapy. Two broad approaches have been taken: a point-of-care approach in which genotyping for specific variant(s) is undertaken at the time of drug prescription, and a preemptive approach in which multiple genetic variants are typed in an individual patient and the information archived for later use when a drug with a "pharmacogenetic story" is prescribed. This review addresses the current state of implementation, the rationale for these approaches, and barriers that must be overcome. Benefits to pharmacogenetic testing are only now being defined and will be discussed.