The lay attitude to pharmacogenomics is crucial to successful implementation. The intention of the present literature review is to delineate the considerations, expectations, fears, and so on, described in the literature regarding pharmacogenomics seen from a lay perspective. The literature review was conducted in Medline and EMBASE in March 2005. The combined search in databases, reference lists, and so on, produced a total of 30 relevant articles, of which seven are included in the literature review. Other literature reviews on this issue are included in the discussion. This review documents that, at this time, very little information is available regarding the public's attitude to pharmacogenetic testing and the use of pharmacogenomics in therapy. Thus, studies of lay attitudes to and expectations of pharmacogenomics are highly relevant. Research is increasingly being conducted in the area, and studies have shown that education, income, age, ethnicity and nationality seems to influence lay attitudes. Based on this, it is concluded that knowledge of the relation between national /cross-national cultural and subcultural settings, and attitudes toward pharmacogenomics seem to be important to a successful pharmacogenomics implementation in healthcare.