In the early months of the pandemic, businesses raced to produce and distribute face masks, medical supplies, hand sanitizer and other goods that were suddenly scarce, shockingly expensive or unavailable at any price.

Companies large and small responded to the need and pivoted to fill these new demands, even as many of them were also coping with drastic reductions in sales and mounting losses. But as the science around the coronavirus has evolved and the immediate supply shock of those early days is now in the past, some of these businesses find themselves with merchandise they can’t sell — or even give away, in some cases — or stockpiles of raw materials filling their homes or production facilities.

“I’ve been writing about risk in supply chain forever, [and]never seen anything like this,” said Eric O’Daffer, a research vice president in the health care supply chain group of consulting firm Gartner. “Some companies…

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