Systems pharmacology is an emerging area of pharmacology which utilizes network analysis of drug action as one of its approaches. By considering drug actions and side effects in the context of the regulatory networks within which the drug targets and disease gene products function, network analysis promises to greatly increase our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the multiple actions of drugs. Systems pharmacology can provide new approaches for drug discovery for complex diseases. The integrated approach used in systems pharmacology can allow for drug action to be considered in the context of the whole genome. Network-based studies are becoming an increasingly important tool in understanding the relationships between drug action and disease susceptibility genes. This review discusses how analysis of biological networks has contributed to the genesis of systems pharmacology and how these studies have improved global understanding of drug targets, suggested new targets and approaches for therapeutics, and provided a deeper understanding of the effects of drugs. Taken together, these types of analyses can lead to new therapeutic options while improving the safety and efficacy of existing medications.