Our growing appreciation of the pluridimensionality of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling, combined with the phenomenon of orthosteric ligand "bias", has created the possibility of drugs that selectively modulate different aspects of GPCR function for therapeutic benefit. When viewed from the short-term perspective, e.g. changes in receptor conformation, effector coupling or second messenger generation, biased ligands appear to activate a subset of the response profile produced by a conventional agonist. Yet when examined in vivo, the limited data available suggest that biased ligand effects can diverge from their conventional counterparts in ways that cannot be predicted from their in vitro efficacy profile. What is currently missing, at least with respect to G protein and arrestin pathway-selective ligands, is a rational framework for relating the in vitro efficacy of a "biased" agonist to its in vivo actions that will enable drug screening programs to identify ligands with the desired biological effects.